Saturday, September 24, 2011

Charges for residents in Winchester confirmed.

Charges for residents confirmed for rat control in Winchester

Winchester residents will be hit with charges to get rid of rodents.
Winchester City Council cabinet members have approved a charge of £35 for dealing with rats and mice, a traditionally free service, from October.
Currently, other treatments like wasp nests, insects including fleas and bed bugs are done on a commercial basis through Serco, though the city council has determined that the pest control service will be brought back in house.
Under the proposals, those on means tested benefit would pay half price, with discretion to waive the fee in extreme circumstances.
Treatments of rats and mice in the Winchester district are typically 2,500 to 3,000 per year with 2,700 last year.
The city council expects the scheme to bring an income of £15,000 for 2011-2012 and £30,000 for 2012-2013 onwards.
Cabinet members at a meeting on Wednesday September 14 gave the scheme the go ahead, subject to approval by full council.
Richard Moseley, British Pest Control Association's technical manager, had said prior to the meeting that by removing a free service it was likely people would stop using it, choosing to not deal with rats or sort it out themselves, which in some cases they could not, leading theoretically to an increase in rodent activity.
At the meeting Alan Rickman, chair of Winchester's Tenants and Council Together (TACT), said he had “grave misgivings” on the proposals and that there were many borderline cases not receiving benefits who would struggle to survive in today's climate to pay the amount.
He said: “This could well mean infestations will go unreported leading to more infestations in a wider area at a later date.”
Liberal Democrat leader councillor Kelsie Learney said she supported charging, saying she thought it would lead to a better service and that the level was reasonable, but said that charging for those on benefits at all was not done by the majority of local councils and asked for the service to remain free for them for a trial period.
Council officer Rob Heathcock, assistant director for high quality environment, said to not charge those on benefit the council would lose an estimated £6,000 to £7,000 in income.
He also said that the number of rats was actually reducing following several harsh winters and that householders could help prevent the problem by not putting out too much bird feed.
Cabinet members asked officers to assess the impact on means tested benefit areas and report back in six months.

Capybara says: more and more councils are cutting back with expenditure and more often than not, services like pest control are cut first.


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