Labour council buys German bins

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A council has been criticised for awarding a multimillion-pound wheelie bin contract to a German firm despite a British company coming in with a quote which was £250,000 cheaper.

Durham County Council will spend £4.2m on 225,000 “twin bins” from a German supplier, which will allow it to introduce fortnightly collections next year. The switch from weekly collections will save the Labour-run authority around £1m a year.

Durham County Council must save around £150m and faces losing 1,600 staff.

It claimed price alone was not the deciding issue, and European rules meant it could not favour a UK supplier.

Emma Boon, campaign director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It seems bizarre that the council decided to offer this contract to the German firm, when a UK company was offering a cheaper alternative.”

Council corporate procurement manager Darren Knowd said the high-value contract was not awarded on price alone and the winning bidder produced the best all-round offer.