Councils shut down pest control to save cash
Some 29 councils across the UK have shut down their pest control services over the past two years as part of a drive to save money, according to an investigation.
Local authorities carried out more than 700,000 jobs relating to pests like rats and cockroaches in the UK last year, but they are not legally obliged to provide the service, making it a candidate for cuts as councils seek to absorb 28 per cent reductions in central government funding over four years.
A documentary from the BBC’s Panorama, which will be aired this evening, found evidence that the removal of publicly-funded pest control has led to some people seeking to handle the problem themselves, rather than pay private companies as much as £100 for an initial call-out.
Simon Forrester, chief executive of the British Pest Control Association, said that councils provide a “safety net for society” and that if services are withdrawn, the most vulnerable people will be hit.
He said: “Many people who can’t afford pest control need to find some sort of support. They’re often the ones who have the worst pest problems where they live.”
Mr Forrester added that unless they were dealt with, infestations can create a health risk.
A government spokesman said: “Regular rubbish collections help reduce instances of pests, and the government is working to support comprehensive weekly rubbish and recycling collections with a new £250 million fund.
“Given that councils account for a quarter of all public spending, it is vital they play their part in tackling the budget deficit inherited from the last administration. However, there are many ways for councils to make sensible savings rather than the lazy option of introducing charges.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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