The spotlight is now on the Veolia waste contract which was based on building a new incinerator and continuing to feed it with enough waste.
A 30-year contract was signed by the Lib Dems in 2001 with a five-year extension later signed by Labour. Greens said it would tie our hands in a rapidly changing world of new recycling options and our current 29 per cent recycling rate puts us in the bottom 10 per cent of local authorities.
The street trees campaign has shone a harsh light on secretive, undemocratic, inflexible and expensive PFI (Private Finance Initiative) contracts. The current council funding crisis is worse, due to fixed contract repayments taking an increasing share of the annual budget at a time of cuts to essential services like adult social care. The uncertain situation that Veolia staff now find themselves in is concerning.
Millions of our money would be needed to pay off Veolia in contract penalty clauses. But this is an opportunity to take the service back in house. Sheffield City Council could provide the services that people want and need, rather than profits for shareholders. It could also allow the council to focus on a wider range of more imaginative ways to reduce waste. There is no incentive to do that under this contract.
Coun Douglas Johnson
City ward Green Party