SOUTHAMPTON council bosses have refused to rule out scrapping the city’s weekly bin collections.

While they say there are currently “no plans” to introduce fortnightly collections, they say they will have to look at “all options” once vital funding runs out.

Opposition councillors now claim that the “writing is on the wall” for weekly collections, which were saved by an £8m Government grant.

As previously reported, the grant, received in 2012, secured the future of the service until 2017.

That has meant that while many other councils in Hampshire have since gone to fortnightly collections, Southampton was praised for keeping the service by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

But with the grant set to run out within three years, Labour council chiefs say they may be forced to consider introducing them.

Council environment and transport boss Jacqui Rayment said: “We have a manifesto commitment not to go to alternative weekly collections.

“The money from central Government has allowed us to keep our commitment for now, but this will have to be reviewed in 2016/17 against other priorities.

“We are not aware of any other appropriate external funding streams available to us so we will be considering all options between now and the end of the Government funding.

“There are currently no plans to implement fortnightly collections in Southampton. However, all options will need to be considered before the council decides on the best way forward.”

Conservative environment spokesman Dan Fitzhenry said that council leaders needed to take action now to save the weekly collections.

He said: “We are committed to weekly bin collections if the decisions are made now about the long-term funding, but if Labour don’t make those decisions it will be an impossible situation.

“It is down to them now to make the decisions to make sure we will still have weekly collections.”

Independent Councillor Against the Cuts, Don Thomas, said: “It looks like the writing is on the wall for weekly collections.

“We are now talking about basic services and I believe we need councillors who will fight for those services, not councillors who would dismantle them.”