Vermin concerns: Rat treatment cases soar across South Lanarkshire

By Jonathan Geddes

Rat numbers have soared across South Lanarkshire in the past few years.

New figures show that the number of rat treatment cases carried out by South Lanarkshire Council have increased by around 1000 in a four-year period.

The council's Labour group has claimed the figures are down to local authority cuts, which they blame on the ruling SNP administration's "chronic neglect" of South Lanarkshire.

However the SNP insists the higher figures are a good thing - as it shows "trust" in the council to sort the problem.

In 2017/2018, the council carried out a total of 482 rat treatments, a figure which climbed to 752 the following year.

The numbers increased again for 2019/2020, to 880, before leaping to 1449 in 2020/2021, when the pandemic is believed to have impacted the figures, with the lack of a night time economy meaning rats were travelling further to find food, including into local homes and gardens.

However, Labour party members say that doesn't explain why the numbers were already increasing year-on-year prior to coronavirus.

Opposition leader, Councillor Joe Fagan, said: "These figures show that South Lanarkshire went into the pandemic with a serious rat problem and it only got worse during lockdown.

"Covid undoubtedly affected our local services but it doesn’t explain why the council nearly doubled the number of rat treatments before the pandemic struck.

"Labour councillors believe the rise of rats on our streets is a consequence of the SNP’s dirty cuts.

"As COP26 approaches, rat infestations in Glasgow are a national embarrassment and a public humiliation for the SNP council there.

"Make no mistake, these figures are a humiliation for the SNP here in South Lanarkshire. Their chronic neglect of our communities is a disgrace and now it is being exposed.

"South Lanarkshire needs new leadership to fight the cuts and prioritise the frontline services that keep our communities clean and safe."

There have been 629 cases already reported for the 2021/2022 year, which runs until next April.

Rutherglen Central and North councillor Janine Calikes, of the SNP, hit back: "More rat treatments carried out means fewer rat problems for residents to deal with.

"The SNP-led council will continue to treat reports of vermin extremely seriously and work hard to tackle them promptly and efficiently, and it's great to see locals reporting the issue more and more as they now have confidence that under the SNP, appropriate action will be taken."

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