Move to keep weekly bin collections

The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is to order the local government watchdog to stop pressurising councils into abandoning weekly bin collections.

Mr Pickles is to write to the Audit Commission instructing it to withdraw guidance encouraging local authorities to move to fortnightly collections. Last night, he accused the commission of being part of a "conspiracy" with the former Labour government to "kill off" weekly bin rounds.

He is ready to use his legal powers as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to "direct" the commission to withdraw its guidance to councils.

Mr Pickles said: "There was a clear conspiracy by Labour ministers and Whitehall bin bullies to kill off weekly bin collections. This demolishes Labour's claim that Britain's barmy bin policies were a local decision – these cuts were imposed from above."

It is the second time this week that Mr Pickles has clashed with the commission after he blocked the appointment of a new chief executive over a proposed £240,000 pay package, arguing that it was "against the spirit" of austerity in public spending.