Council to consider proposal to scrap grass-cutting service for elderly people
Free grass-cutting for the elderly and disabled is to be scrapped next year under cost-cutting plans to go before councillors on Thursday.
Rising demand has meant more people wanting their gardens cut than can be afforded from the £101,000-a-year budget. With no extra money available the service is only to be extended this summer to those who asked first.
For next year the housing service advocates ending the service altogether rather than raising the extra money needed by putting up council house rents and removing £17,000 from other council services.
The long-running service is intended only as a last resort for those who have no family or friends nearby to cut the grass for them. But their number is increasing steadily as the population ages. As well as the council house tenants who qualify for free cuts more than 300 private householders and tenants have asked for theirs to be done for nothing this year.
Another option to avoid scrapping the service would be to introduce a charge to cover the cost but this is not felt to be worthwhile due to the cost of collecting the money.
One of the anomalies of the scheme is that council house tenants effectively pay for the service twice, through their rents and their council tax whereas private home owners, who often have much larger gardens, pay only indirectly through their council tax.
The proposal to end the service is to be debated by councillors on the services committee.