Council look to scrap ‘rat tax’ after protest

Rebecca Watson whose protest forced a council rethink
Rebecca Watson whose protest forced a council rethink
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Councillors look set to scrap a controversial “rat tax” amid fears it could be making the rodent problem worse.

South Ribble’s cabinet will discuss dropping charges for the borough’s pest control service tonight after a case highlighted by the Post earlier this week.

Leyland householder Rebecca Watson dumped a dead rat at the front counter of the council offices after being told a visit from the rat catcher would cost her £41.

Her protest re-ignited a political row about the charges, which Labour and independent councillors have consistently opposed as unfair.

Coun Mick Titherington, shadow spokesman for public health, said: “This is great news and follows my urgings for the immediate revoking of the charges and an action plan to tackle what is a public health issue.

“We predicted that this would lead to an increase in rat infestation and the fact is those who are least likely to afford the charge will be most affected. The problem of rats is one that is growing and needs to be addressed.”

Council leader Coun Mary Green said: “The views of our residents and what is best for our borough is always our priority.

“We are a listening council and we have taken on board those concerns. We are now proposing to suspend the charges for our pest control services for rats and mice at residential properties until the issue can be voted on by cabinet next month.

“We’re not afraid to review a decision that the council has taken if it’s not working.”