Dec 13 2012 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
A WASTE authority is hitting taxpayers across west London with extra charges to fill a funding gap.
West London Waste Authority, which administers the refuse of six boroughs, will charge Harrow Council an extra £545,000 and Brent Council an extra £609,000 for the service and has introduced charges for leaving certain types of waste at the tip, which has hit homeowners.
Some Brent councillors claim the extra levy has come as a shock and they were not aware of the hole in the authority’s multimillion pound budget.
Opposition councillor Barry Cheese (Lib Dem) said the bill could cost each council tax paying household £6 if it is raised in this way by the council.
Mr Cheese said: “PricewaterhouseCoopers came in and did an audit for them and discovered this. No one was aware of it until I reported it to the council and made my own investigations. What’s more worrying is they didn’t even tell budget and finance overview and scrutiny committee.”
Lib Dem councillor, Alison Hopkins, chairman of the budget scrutiny committee on Brent Council, said: “I wasn’t aware of this being raised and no one has fought the residents’ corner. It is residents who are hacked off. The waste authority can demand this money but unless someone fights back it is very difficult to do anything about it.”
Brent Council has already paid the waste authority £1.7million this year.
Each council has a different responsibility in terms of administration for the authority and Harrow Council is responsible for the accounts.
Susan Hall, leader of the Conservative opposition at Harrow Council, who used to sit on the waste authority board when the Tories were in power, said: “If it is incompetence in accounting it is completely disgraceful. Harrow residents deserve more.”
Jim Brennan, director of the West London Waste Authority, said: “Sadly the costs are always going up because of things like the landfill tax, which goes up each year.
“We have been having on-going discussions with officers and members of Brent Council. In the last budget we underestimated our finances and have had to charge a levy to make up for this.”
Labour councillor James Powney, who represents Brent on the waste authority board, said: “All West London decisions are in the public domain and they are in correspondence with Brent Council, there would have been numerous emails about this.”
Portfolio holder for environment and community safety on Harrow Council, councillor Phillip O’Dell, said: “The West London Waste Authority’s original budget set by the disposal authority for this year was insufficient to cover its costs and this has impacted on all local authorities which use its services.”