Picking up litter in the street is now the task of residents as the council says it can no longer afford to sweep up all of the city’s rubbish.
The call for people to pitch in and do their bit for the community came from Labour city councillor Hazel Stephenson as she claimed today’s generation were more likely to drop crisp packets, wrappers and cans.
The council said the people of Newcastle needed to prepare themselves for a much dirtier city as the authority attempts to shave £90m from its budget over the next three years.
Coun Stephenson, city council cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods, said:
“The council does not drop litter. The council does not fly tip. People drop litter. People fly tip.
“People need to take responsibility for their area. The council cannot continue to do it all.”
A reduction in council services, including fewer small street bins, is a fact that people will have to accept, according to Coun Stephenson.
“The reality is front line services are being cut and we are losing a lot of services that people take for granted.
“I am not saying that people need to replace core council services. What I am saying is that we all need to work together,”
said Coun Stephenson, who was addressing the council’s cabinet as they discussed draft proposals for the 2015-2016 budget.
She used the area of Benwell as an example of families cooperating to improve their community.
“Residents put up little notes in the streets, reminding people of the simple things that they can do to make a difference.
“Warnings against dropping litter in the road and letting your dog foul in public had a big impact.
“It seems common sense but people sometimes need reminding. Those little letters made a big difference.”
She went on to suggest littering was a generational issue.
“People are changing. Years ago this problem was not there. It is cultural and differs across generation.
“When I was younger dropping litter was unthinkable. For some people today, sadly, it is not.”
The councillor did however praise the work of some schools :
“Some schools do a great job of encouraging their students to take a greater responsibility with regards to litter.
“Making the younger generation aware of the problems that are caused by rubbish in our streets is a great way of changing attitudes.”
Newcastle City Council director of communities Mick Murphy said:
“People need to show more commitment and community spirit. It is a common sense thing.
“Think about what happens to your waste once you have thrown it away. Someone has to pick it up after you.”
So far £151m has been cut from the council budget since 2010 which led to some libraries being transferred into community ownership and the City Pool closing.
Coun Forbes said the financial year 2015 to 2016 would see the authority facing a series of ‘fiscal cliffs’ and plans are in motion to transfer city parks to civic trusts, reduce the number of small litter bins and redevelop Sure Start services.
Unison is also warning that up to 400 council jobs could go over the next three years.
Source – Sunday Sun, 02 Nov 2014