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Refuse Collection

Volume 951: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is his estimate of the annual cost of local authorities' refuse collection services; and what proportion of this is undertaken by private contractors;(2) if he will issue a circular advising local authorities to use private contractors for their refuse collection and disposal when this can be done at lower cost to the ratepayers, for the equivalent standard of service, than the present system; and if he will make a statement.

The estimated cost of this service in 1977–78 in England and Wales was approximately £240 million. Collection by private contractors accounts for less than 1 per cent. It is for local authorities to decide how best to discharge their statutory refuse collection functions; and I see no case for the issue of a circular in this connection.