Conservatives at Cornwall Council have slammed the “financially calamitous” Liberal Democrat/Independent administration after it was forced to delay a decision on a new waste contract until November.

The council’s Cabinet yesterday considered a report which stated that while two final bidders had submitted tenders for the new contract neither of them were within the council’s budget.

Negotiations have been taking place for months to secure a new waste and recycling contract with the current deal set to end in March 2020.

Under the proposals the council wants to move to a weekly recycling and food waste collection service and have black bag waste collected fortnightly in a bid to drive up recycling rates in Cornwall. The new collection service is not due to start until June 2021.

The council is also looking to merge three contracts which would see the operator also responsible for street cleaning, fly tipping removal, graffiti removal and beach cleaning.

But with none of the bids being deemed to be “affordable” council officers had suggested that the Cabinet select a contingency option. No details of what the options are have been made public with the Cabinet discussing the matter for more than an hour behind closed doors.

Following the meeting the council stated that they will continue to review the situation and report back again to the Cabinet when it meets in November.

It comes just a week after the council voted to spend up to £62million on the rubbish trucks and facilities which would be needed to operate the service.

Rob Nolan, Cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “It is important that we are able to be entirely satisfied that the process is affordable and that all options have been considered to ensure value for money for council tax payers.”

But the saga received short shrift from opposition Conservative councillors who criticised the council’s “bungled handling” of the contract.

Tory group leader Linda Taylor said: “What a waste. The farcical scenes at today’s Cabinet meeting must leave the people of Cornwall dumbfounded about how these people who are supposed to be running their council got the quotes so wrong.

“Just last week at Full Council we were asked to approve more than £60million in spending for the purchase of new lorries, specifically designed to accommodate wheely-bins included in the new contract, so they must have had some inkling that this was going to happen.

“This contract preparation is indicative of this administration. Careless with Cornish tax payer money and ill prepared for the challenges of negotiation with the contractors.

“They are financially calamitous and running out of time. The waste contractors are now aware of the budget and this leaves Cornwall Council once again in a poor negotiating position.

“This poor financial position has been seen before. Dare I mention negotiations with Inox and currently the Pydar development.

“We are challenging this administration to sharpen its pencils and get out the calculator.

“They have now kicked yet another decision into the long grass. The people of Cornwall deserve better and we demand answers by November, if not before.”