Red-faced town hall chiefs were blasted today for quizzing homeowners about their sexuality – in a survey about WHEELIE BINS.
Baffled Brummies were stunned when Birmingham City Council emailed the online questionnaire to thousands of residents asking them how they dispose of rubbish.
As well as questions about recycling reward schemes, the sizes of bins and whether their property has space to store them, the survey asked if they were heterosexual, gay or bisexual.
One of the questions in the ‘about you’ section at the end of the questionnaire says: “Which of the following most accurately describes your sexual orientation?”
Options available for residents to choose between are ‘bisexual, gay man, gay woman/lesbian, heterosexual/straight, other, or prefer not to say.’
Councillors yesterday admitted the bizarre question which is the latest in a string of gaffes from the authority which is the biggest in Europe.
Birmingham resident Dave Dixon, 34, who was emailed the online survey, fumed: “It does not ask if residents want such bins but is very interested in their sexual orientation.
“Are we going to have different coloured bins dependent on ones orientation?”
And former Tory councillor Peter Smallbone said: “The survey doesn’t ask whether you want one (a wheelie bin), but does ask about sexual orientation.
“It’s typical pointless lefty nonsense.”
Another resident Paul Stanley added: “Why do I need to answer questions about sexual orientation/ethnicity/religion when responding to a survey about wheelie bins?”
Resident Cyril Mayers, 40, added “What the hell has sexual orientation or religion got to do with wheelie bins? Mind your own business.”
The council responded by claiming the question is simply one of the standard monitoring questions to ensure the responses represent a cross-section of the city’s population.
A spokesman said: “Although we do ask those questions, as part of the effort to make the feedback as informed as possible, you will have also noticed that ‘prefer not to say’ is an option to every question in that part of the survey.”
It is not the first time the city council has been made into a laughing stock.
Last summer the authority spent thousands of pounds on a wicker statue of Jamaican Olympian Usain Bolt doing his famous ‘To Di World’ pose – before fans pointed out they had got it the wrong way around.
In 2008 the council famously printed the skyline of Birmingham, Alabama, on more than 360,000 leaflets promoting the city.
And in 2010 Town Hall chiefs had to pulp thousands of voting cards after printing the wrong date on them – and then found they had misspelt Birmingham by missing out the letter ‘h’.