The Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) welcomes the publication of the LGA’s report `Routes to Re-use – Maximising Value from Re-used Materials’ and particularly the recognition that social and economic value can be maximised by re-using items currently destined for landfill and incineration.
We welcome all of the LGA’s recommendations therein, but the FRN would like to add there should be recognition for what is happening now by the social economy re-use sector lead by the Furniture Re-use Network, as well as focusing on what could be.
The report states that there is over £400 million of untapped value from household waste material in England, which can be won from increasing the amount we re-use; the resale value of these goods is approximately £375 million.
FRN doesn’t want local authorities or central Government to overlook the fact that the furniture re-use network of charities and social enterprises is already saving £286 million per annum for low income households in England by making available low cost, pre-used – usually essential - household goods. This socially and financially-inclusive approach by the re-use sector ensures that local authority welfare bills are lower, and that low income households are diverted away from financially crippling high-interest retail shops, pay-day lenders and loan sharks.
A key question within the report is how we can stimulate demand. FRN says much of the demand already exists and the re-use sector needs access to more of the reusable waste stream.
Also, we really welcome and support the proposal that HM Treasury should offer a £2,000 reduction on National Insurance contributions (NIC) when voluntary and community sector and commercial reuse organisations employ additional workers.
However, we would like clarity on this issue. Does this cover current employees, or does it apply only to future employees?
FRN needs local authorities to stop working in silos and recognise the budget savings, if not the environmental and welfare importance attached to joined-up commissioning. Commissioning shouldn’t be just about meeting one department’s objectives such as improving waste diversion; but welfare, social inclusion and community cohesion considerations should be factored in too. The network of re-use organisations has many of the local solutions.
The Furniture re-use Network is looking forward to working much more closely with local authorities and has recently produced some advice about working with the sector. http://www.frn.org.uk/allnews.html
To find your local re-use and repair organisation by postcode, visit: www.frn.org.uk
For further information, please contact: