SIR: The introduction of a new charge for green waste collection by Winchester City Council is, not surprisingly, proving controversial.

Depending upon the bin size required the charge is either £39 or £59 per year for a resident occupying a private residence. This is a very significant proportion of the Winchester council tax portion for the average payer. Had the council tried to raise this money via the council tax it would have required a referendum which would almost certainly have been defeated.

So instead a new charge was introduced three months before the local elections in the hope residents would have forgotten about it by May. The charge itself is bad enough as it will encourage fly-tipping and more car driving to a recycling centre - something I thought the council would not want. But what is even worse is that there is no rebate scheme for poorer residents.

The Conservative opposition recently proposed such a scheme but it was defeated by the Lib Dems who control the council. Even before the pandemic there were sizeable pockets of poverty in Winchester and the surrounding villages. Why did the Lib Dems, who think they are the only "caring" party, not introduce help for poorer residents?

A rebate scheme for residents receiving council tax credit would have gone some way to helping and would surely not be difficult to administer. Savings elsewhere can always be found if there is the will to do so.

Doubtless we shall soon be receiving the usual deluge of Lib Dem election leaflets. But no amount of literature will disguise the fact that actions speak louder than words!

Andrew Beadle,

Milesdown Place,

St Giles Hill,