Council to cut 30% from Kintyre Recycling social enterprise and fatten Shanks
On Thursday Mick Rice, the Scottish Labour Candidate and his Campaign Manager Bob Chicken, visited the Kintyre Recycling social enterprise in Campbeltown.
They were very impressed with what they saw. The company collects, treats, crushes, packages and sells on recyclable plastics, metals and paper.
Amanda and her 24 staff (of whom nearly half have learning disabilities and special needs) do a remarkable job and they do it in an old factory building which is in urgent need of considerable investment. They make a substantial contribution to the reduction of South Kintyre’s carbon footprint.
It is a very successful community enterprise on so many levels. The Labour team feel that it is a great example of a Social Enterprise company doing good work for the community and doing so in both a commercial and an ethical manner.
During their visit, they were therefore taken aback – shocked might be closer to the reality – to hear that the Council will be reducing their grant by 30% (as opposed to the general cut of 5% they had been expecting) and has only given them 3 months in which to make the necessary changes and redundancies.
Another eyebrow-raiser came when they were told by a party member in Campbeltown that the council is said to be in discussion with Shanks (their waste disposal contractor) to collect Kintyre’s recyclable waste co-mingled in one bag and then ship it to a plant near Edinburgh for sorting, processing and onward transport to whoever buys it.
They understand that transporting this waste, uncrushed, will take a vastly increased number of trucks to get it to Edinburgh than if it were processed and bailed in Kintyre. For Argyll has heard figures of one truck carrying the presently bailed waste away, being replaced by 8 or 9 trucks to remove the new just-chuck-it-all-in-together non-system.
Mick Rice has asked: ‘Will the council be cutting their funding of Shanks by a 30%?’ Hardly.
The Labour team’s argument is that a good, ethical, efficient community business is having to suffer a 30% cut in order that their work can be transported to Edinburgh and processed by a large multi-national business.
If this happens jobs will be lost in Campbeltown – which has the worst unemployment figures in Scotland – and gained in Edinburgh, where they have much lower unemployment.
And the impact on Scotland’s carbon footprint cannot be described as other than extravagant.
We have emailed a request to the present and immediate past Spokespersons for the Third Sector – Councillor Rory Colville and Councillor John Semple respectively – for information on their views on the situation and on whether and why each personally approved or opposed the plan.
We have also asked the Council for a statement on its proposed actions in this matter.
People with the disadvantages suffered by many of the staff at Kingyre Recycling find – like everyone else – dignity, independence and a role in life by being employed – but work is harder for them to find and particularly so in the depressed economy of Campbeltown and Kintyre.
This social enterprise is well conceived, socially useful, creates jobs for those who would otherwise have none and are already among our most vulnerable – and is carbon efficient.
We expect more of our council that the fattening of companies of scale based beyond Argyll at the expense of honourable local social enterprises supporting community sustainability.