A council survey on wheelie bins which asked residents in Birmingham about their sexual orientation has been branded a waste of taxpayers’ money by politicians.

Residents filling in the online poll about household waste and recycling reward schemes were also asked to complete sections about their religion.

In the “About You” part of the survey householders were asked to tick boxes telling the city council if they were gay, straight or bisexual, and if they had a religious denomination.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles criticised the scheme.

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 inquired about getting their bins emptied or joining a local library.

“Birmingham Council have repeatedly ignored this advice despite statutory guidance from DCLG stating that this is simply not necessary.

“At a time when taxpayers are watching their pennies, this is just one indication of how Labour-run councils like Birmingham are showing a complete disregard for taxpayers’ money.

“Clamping down on sending out these unnecessary documents will not only save taxpayers’ money but protect the privacy of residents of all backgrounds.”

In a statement, the council said: “The questions are standard demographic questions and respondents have the option not to respond.”

It was also suggested in notes on the online survey that answers to the questions would enable the organisation to monitor the representativeness of the responses and identify trends.