THE issue of letting agents, landlords and students being allowed to dispose of waste free of charge is one that gets to the crux of austerity.

On one level, Cllr Dave Merrett has a point when he states that the council should not “cut off its nose to spite its face”. Nevertheless, if one accepts that cuts need to be made, it is whether those cuts are implemented fairly that is crucial.

To many, providing landlords, agents and students a free pass to dispose of waste while charges and availability of collection services have been tightened for ordinary council taxpayers will strike many as unfair. The rationale appears to be that the end (rubbish off the street) justifies the means (free disposal services).

That is simply not good enough.

If I dumped rubbish on the street, I would justifiably expect to be held to account – and so it should in the case of students and landlords.

The council may argue they have insufficient money for enforcement but HMO (Houses of Multiple Occupation) licensing fees could surely be adjusted to deal with keeping those streets clean if landlords and students fail in what most of us would consider a fairly basic mutual obligation to our fellow citizens.

Richard Bridge, Holgate Road, York.