A survey about wheelie bins asked residents to declare their sexual orientation, leaving local people in Birmingham stunned.
The online questionnaire asked: “Which of the following most accurately describes your sexual orientation? Bisexual, gay man, gay woman/lesbian, heterosexual/straight, other, or prefer not to say” alongside questions about recycling reward schemes and bin sizes.
The survey, which was sent to thousands of residents, has shocked local people.
Dave Dixon, 34, asked: “Are we going to have different coloured bins dependent on one’s orientation?”
Householder Paul Stanley added: “‘Why do I need to answer questions about sexual orientation/ethnicity/religion when responding to a survey about wheelie bins?”
Community secretary Eric Pickles criticised Birmingham Council for its intrusive questionnaire.
He said: “We’ve repeatedly written to councils to remind them that local residents shouldn’t be asked to fill out intrusive questionnaires about their sexuality, religion and other personal details just because they’ve enquired about getting their bins emptied or joining a local library.
“Birmingham Council have repeatedly ignored this advice despite statutory guidance from DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) which states that this is simply not necessary.”
The council said that this is simply a standard monitoring questions to ensure that the responses represent a cross-section of the city’s population and that people do not have to answer it.
But former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe used her column in the Daily Express to say this response is “pathetic”.
She said, “there is no way of exercising “prefer not to be asked” as an option.”