Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Its a rat trap NBC and you've been caught

Following yesterdays post on NBC,s astonishing dereliction of duty in respect of local pest control I looked deeper into what was and was not agreed by the Council when it set its budget in February 2009.

In appendix 7 of the budget report which identified cuts (sorry, service reductions) it identifies the following £10,000 saving "Introduce full pest control charges except for rat treatment. Subsidised fees for those in receipt of benefits will stop for treatment of mice and insects"

So we voted for a service, albeit with some charges? and my constituent with a rat infestation irrespective of him being on benefit should have recieved a free service, right?

Well wrong according to the Council, you see another saving was identified below the above which read as follows "saving £29,980 - cease pest control provision by direct contract when current contract ends in 2009/10 - additional savings to above"

Which means what exactly? Cease provision by direct contract? does that mean we will provide by non direct contract? which means what?

And when you look at the list of agreed charges for 2009/10 also set in the budget and voted on by Councillors in February it lists all the various charges for pest control including "Rats - Free" and tell us that "Prices for 2009/10 are "subject to tender July 2010."

Any sensible person would suggest that all the above means that we may go out to tender and the service may not be directly provided in the future. But not that the service is to be scrapped altogether and that residents will simply be told to use the yellow pages!

This is dishonest budgeting and it is disreputable for the council to scrap the service without proper authority by Council or proper explanation to councillors.

Someone therefore has some explaining to do.

One bit of good news though. I spoke to Ray Weaver, Managing Director of Pest Express in Corby who up until July was the Councils contractor, to ask him what he would charge me to pay my constituent a visit to help him. (I don't make a habit of doing this, but it did seem a good use of my council expenses) Ray said, he would do it for free for me. So 5 stars to them (there phone number if you ever need them is 0800 542 67271)

Pest Express offer a service to a number of local authorities and are a "preferred supplier" to many others including North Norfolk District Council who had also closed their in house service, and they offer discounts to benefit recipients.

I still hold out that rat infestations should be treated for free by the council in order to prevent a wider habitation, and I will fight for the service to be reinstated, But why can't NBC at least give a direction to people when they phone them up instead of effectively saying "phone around a dozen companies yourself until you find a company willing to give you a reduction?" phoning around is not cheap either when you are on benefits.

So top marks to Pest Express, and no marks at all for NBC, and a huge row brewing as to what exactly we did vote for in full council at the budget meeting in February.

But one resident in Semilong at least can hopefully get a bit more sleep knowing his house will eventually be rat free.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The real rats are at the Guildhall

An ex sailor contacted me today from St Andrews Road in Northampton, desperate for help because his house has been overrun with rats!

Several mild winters, his proximity to the river via Millers Meadow and refuse sacks being placed on the street days before collection have made him and his family a target for hordes of rattus norvegicus, and his is rightly concerned of the damage this could have on the health of his two young children (10 months and 2 yrs) and his disabled partner. Being an ex sailor he understands very well the dangers of Weil's disease and his weekly shopping bill has also increased by the need for him to disinfect all the surfaces in the kitchen prior to cooking.

The trouble for my constituent though is that he is living on benefit because his wife is disabled, and he is the main carer for their two young children, so money is tight. So he phoned the council in a cry for help to reduce the infestation. He has also tried domestic rat poison but to no avail. So in desperation he rung the council.

"Can't help you" came the reply, "budget cuts"

As of April 1st 2009 the Liberal Democrat council has withdrawn its free service to those on benefits to save a few bob. But as many of us predicted would happen, it is not those who can afford to call out a pest control operative at £65 a time that would suffer, it is those who can't afford a private service that are being placed in the front line.

What sort of false economy is this? I can understand to a degree reductions in any subsidised service for those who can afford to pay, but by the council not dealing with infestations in houses where the option of a paid service is not a realistic expectation then all they will do is make the problem harder to deal with in the general area and spread the colony.

Local Authorities have a duty under section 2 of the "Prevention of Damage by pests act 1949" to take action to ensure any infestation is avoided and dealt with, but it seems that our friendly Liberal Democrats at the Guildhall believe that their duty ends at serving notices and fines to householders irrespective as to whether or not they can afford to take action themselves. How about some action being taken against Network Rail? or the Environment Agency? or Anglian Water? or even themselves for cutting back on treatment on their own land?

Surely it is in the whole community's interest for them to take collective action as a local authority in such circumstances? They must act NOW!

Day by day, week by week the real problems facing people everyday as a result of the massive cuts implemented by the Liberal DemocRATS at the Town Hall are being revealed, supplys of black bins are in very scarse supply and not being delivered to residents on time, street sweeping has been reduced, flytipping out of control, grass not being cut as regular as it was turning the roadside into the new "wildlife areas" so trumpeted by the portfolio holder at the time the cuts were sold to us as service improvements.

So how will they sell this one? Free Pets for hard up families with under fives?

So today I am calling on them to get real for once, and accept that this crazy, ill thought out policy needs badly reviewing and changing immediately before the problem escalates into a real infestation, with real health consequences for local residents. I don't think the rats mind one bit whose house they infest? and once they are in one house they can breed far more easily in the warm, and then move in next door, and so on.

What would the cost be of reinstating a free service for those on benefits? or even a subsidised service at an affordable level? And what will be the cost of them not doing so?



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Thank you for visiting "tonyclarkegreenparty" The views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They are made by me personally in my own capacity as free citizen and not as representative of any outside body or council that I may serve on or be employed by. However if anyone is offended by any of these comments or feels that they should be corrected then please contact me in the first instance at and I will do my best to consider your comments and correct any errors.


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