Tuesday 28 July 2009

What a load of rubbish

The refuse collection problem in Edinburgh continues:
Some collections of household rubbish are running four weeks behind schedule in a dispute involving refuse collectors, according to a report.

Refuse collectors in Edinburgh have been working-to-rule for several weeks in protest at plans to change the way they are paid.

The local Tories have set up a facebook group about the awful mess the city's in just as the Festival season is starting. Fair enough, but what's the real problem here?

The real problem is ownership, or rather lack of it. The technology of keeping our streets clean isn't terribly difficult. I ask this: Just how many Edinburgh houses are rubbish-strewn inside? Not too many I suspect, especially the ones that are privately owned. And that gives a clue as to the answer. If the streets of Edinburgh were owned by hundreds or indeed thousands of competing private organisations, would not those profit-seeking owners have sorted out the mess earlier? The economic incentives under political ownership rarely work.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

C H Ingoldby
Odd, when i have gone canvassing, the privately owned ex council houses have always been much better maintained, with neater gardens. 
The still publically owned council houses tend to be much dirter and in need of maintanence. 
As such, i question your observation.

26 September 2009, 14:20:03 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
(1) is essentially my second point. 
I like (2) and (3), with (3) sort of aligning with my (1).

30 July 2009, 21:33:00 GMT+01:00
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Young Mr. Brown
Well, having thought about it myself, there are probably 3 main explanations. 
1) The people who bought their houses saw an opportunity to get a good asset on the cheap, and having grabbed that asset, they didn't feel like spending too much money on it. 
2) The people who didn't buy their houses were older people, who had always lived in a rented house and were thus reluctant to change - and who were also more inclined to be house-proud, and embarrassed by untidy gardens than younger people. 
3) The amount of money available for maintaining council houses was virtually infinite, since it came from tax-payers, and so no expense was spared - whereas people who bought their own houses have limited resources to spend. 
I suppose it isn't a typical council estate, but it did challenge my presuppositions.

30 July 2009, 20:50:14 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
Perhaps the council owned ones are occupied by government workers who nowadays earn more. Perhaps the privately owned ones are occupied by folk who were given low cost mortgages under the credit boom (created mainly by the government of course) and financial reality has now set in.

30 July 2009, 07:59:34 GMT+01:00
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Young Mr. Brown
I've been fascinated by the street of council houses near me.  
To my surprise, the ones that are neat and tidy and well kept from the outside are the ones that are still in council ownership. The ones where the gardens are a complete mess, and which are in desperate need of a lick of paint are in private ownership. 
What do I make of this?

29 July 2009, 10:55:32 GMT+01:00