Bin changes a priority for council bosses

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Wigan’s ruling cabinet will give its “full attention” to making a success of the controversial bin collection changes from September.

The council’s Labour group has shuffled its leadership team this week in response to “changing pressures” on the town hall.

Leader Lord Smith told the Observer delivering an effective bin service is one of the council’s “firm commitments” to residents. Three councillors have been promoted to “lead member” status, working alongside the cabinet, with community safety and green issues among their priorities.

Lord Smith said: “As we implement the agreed (bin) changes, the relevant cabinet member will be required to give this service their fullest attention as the changes are implemented.

“To enable this, I have taken the opportunity to allocate a couple of key political priorities – community safety and green issues - to new Lead members.

“This should ensure these important areas receive the full attention of an elected member and I hope we can go further to start to address the figures for domestic violence which are far too high in Wigan borough.”

Couns Joanne Marshall, Jim Moodie and Nazia Rehman are the trio to be designated “lead members” with responsibility for Greener Wigan, Leisure and Public Health and Community and Family Safety, respectively.

The reshuffle suggests the ruling Labour Party is confident Coun Jo Platt will win the race to become Leigh MP as she has not been named on the list of cabinet members.

Coun Jenny Bullen, who joined the executive body earlier this year in place of Coun Paul Kenny, will assume Coun Platt’s children’s services portfolio.

Coun Carl Sweeney, who represents Abram ward, has been promoted to the cabinet and will oversee a new resources and reform portfolio.

Black bin collections will move to a three weekly cycle from September in a move the council hopes will boost recycling rates and also save £2m per year.

Residents have complained the new system will cause public health hazards but council bosses have issued guidance on how to make the new system work.