Peter Hoskin

Osborne’s recycling giveaway is actually an Age of Austerity measure

Osborne's recycling giveaway is actually an Age of Austerity measure
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I don't want to be a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to an idea which is actually quite promising, but it's worth pointing out that George Osborne's plan to pay people to recycle – featured in quite a few of today's papers – was first mooted by him back in July 2008.  

The difference between then and now?  That this particular nudge was worth up to £360 a year for families who took advantage of it – whereas now the figure has come down to £130 a year.  In which case, it's probably better to regard at least this part of Osborne's announcement today as an Age of Austerity-inspired cutback, rather than new policy.  Not that that's a bad thing, of course, given the desperate state of the public finances…

P.S. Matthew Taylor wrote a thought-provoking post on this recycling reward idea when it was first put forward by Osborne.

UPDATE: Team Osborne get in touch to say that there won't actually be a £130 cap on payments – even though the papers are reporting that families will be able to claim "up to" £130.  £130 is actually the average figure that people are receiving from Windsor council, under a similar scheme.  So folk could actually receive more.  In effect, that means the policy is near identical to the one which Osborne proposed in 2008 – except then he mentioned restaurant vouchers as a reward for recycling, whereas now it's M&S vouchers...