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No cash for East Staffs to clean up after the public smoking ban

Wednesday 11th July 2007 (Andrew Griffiths)
No cash for East Staffs to clean up after the public smoking ban

East Staffs Council will receive no extra money to clean the streets of Burton and Uttoxeter following the public smoking ban according to Conservative Parliamentary spokesman Andrew Griffiths.

The news comes as Government ministers have admitted that East Staffs Council are facing higher costs of street cleaning – and could be forced to hand out £80 fines or else hike up council tax as a result.
Based on the experience of other countries, the new smoking ban in England is expected to lead to increased levels of cigarette litter on streets and pavements resulting from smokers being forced outdoors.

In the Republic of Ireland , the smoking ban increased cigarette litter by 20 per cent.

Where smoking bans have been implemented, 1 in 3 butts are dropped as litter.

The Local Government Association is warning of 25 more tonnes of fag ends, cig packets and matches could be dumped every day thanks to the ban.

Mr Griffiths claimed that the Government was creating a Big Bother state by funding the cost of smoking ban enforcement – to allow the creation of smoking inspectors and the use of covert surveillance to catch people smoking indoors, but not helping to deal with the extra litter produced as a result.
· Cigarette litter already costs councils £340 million a year to clean up.
· Under new powers handed from the Government, councils can levy on-the-spot fines of £50 for smoking indoors and breaking the ban, and £80 for smoking outdoors and then dropping litter.

Mr Griffiths, said: “Now we have a smoking ban, and I hope it leads to a healthier and happier atmosphere in our pubs. But while most smokers in Burton and Uttoxeter will use a bin, I fear that a minority may not – leading to more litter on our streets.

“I am concerned that the extra costs of street cleaning could force up council tax bills.

One of the ongoing causes of soaring council tax under Gordon Brown is Whitehall placing ever more burdens on local councils, without any money to fund them. The Government shouldn’t pass laws which it isn’t prepared to fund.”

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