I am being generous and suggesting that Cllr Bassam Mahfouzâ€™s Recycling Rewards scheme only wasted its Â£30K communications budget. The Â£80K given in incentives to the winning wards will be reasonably well spent I am sure but I donâ€™t see this scheme being repeated. Maybe we should praise the Labour administration for trying something new. Whilst the Â£80K will not be entirely wasted it might have been better spent on directly tackling participation in recycling in the weakest wards in the borough. The number are in the cabinet report here.
The council has spent Â£30K advertising this scheme and seen the average participation rate across the borough drop slightly from 58.37% to 58.30%. I am sure that that the margin for error is much bigger than this so we should probably just agree that the Â£30K has been spent to no effect.
If you look at the councilâ€™s table there are some shocking disparities across the borough. Southall Green ward participates at fully half the rate of Hobbayne. And donâ€™t let anyone tell you that Hobbayne is some chichi middle class area which you might expect to do well.
The nine lowest performing wards, which all fail to get over the 55% mark, are strong Labour areas. Southall Green is noticeably weaker than anywhere else. I would rather that the Â£110K had been allocated to a small team going door-to-door around Southall Green to try to change behaviour there.
Labour would rather puff themselves up with comms spending than actually engage with their own communities. Cllr Mahfouzâ€™s reputation for dissimulation is underlined by his quote in the press release:
This competition has shown that it is possible to improve recycling rates and a special mention must go to South Acton, which improved by such a staggering amount.
Black is white. Both Cllrs Bell and Mahfouz believe in Lenin’s dictum â€œA lie told often enough becomes truthâ€. Mahfouz lauds South Acton increasing by 6.1% whilst failing to mention that Dormers Wells dropped 6.2% and that 9 out of 23 wards went backwards and 7 stood still (less than 1% change) and only 7 showed progress.