The Council tells me that the Council’s pest control department had 740 complaints about rats in the last financial year 2016/17. That compares with 555 in 2013/14 before Labour took over. So an increase of a third. The total scale of the problem will be much higher as many people employ free enterprise, rather than municipal, rat catchers.
It could have been worse. At least Labour retreated on their proposal to scrap weekly bin collections.
But the problem has surely been exacerbated by the decline in standards of street cleaning. Overflowing litter bins have become an all too common sight on our parks and high streets. We need more of them and they need to be emptied more frequently.
As Robert Browning wrote in The Pied Piper of Hamelin:
“At last the people in a body
To the Town Hall came flocking:
“‘Tis clear,” cried they, “our Mayor’s a noddy;
And as for our Corporation — shocking
To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
For dolts that can’t or won’t determine
What’s best to rid us of our vermin!
You hope, because you’re old and obese,
To find in the furry civic robe ease?
Rouse up, sirs! Give your brains a racking
To find the remedy we’re lacking,
Or, sure as fate, we’ll send you packing!”
At this the Mayor and Corporation
Quaked with a mighty consternation.”