Over 60,000 complaints about pests in council housing in three years
A mouse - Image credit: Patrick Breen via Flickr
Scottish councils have received over 60,000 complaints about pests in council housing over the last three years.
In total there were 22,236 pest-related complaints to councils in 2016, 17,567 in 2017 and 21,365 in 2018, with the highest number of complaints in North Lanarkshire – 5,079 in 2018 – followed by Edinburgh, Fife and South Lanarkshire.
Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, Glasgow, Orkney and Renfrewshire did not have any record of the number of pest complaints in council-owned housing in their areas.
Pests reported included: bats, wasps, beetles, cockroaches, mice, rats, moths, squirrels, flees, slaters, birds, silverfish, foxes, seagulls, pigeons and slugs.
The figures were revealed through freedom of information requests by the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
The party blamed the issue on cuts to local authority budgets and it called on the Scottish Government to make new efforts to improve the quality of council housing.
Scottish Liberal Democrat housing spokesperson Caron Lindsay commented: “Although in some cases the presence of pests is unavoidable, the scale on which local authority tenants are reporting bed bugs, wasps, mice and other animals in their houses is staggering.
“It is completely unacceptable to house people in buildings that have cockroaches or other unhygienic infestations.
“Imagine how awful it must be to feel that you can't let your baby play on the floor in case they pick up mouse droppings or some other nasty.
“Every person deserves a clean and comfortable home.
“Poor quality housing can take a huge toll on people’s mental and physical health.
“If the SNP hadn’t been slashing local authority budgets for years, they would be better placed to provide that.
“The Scottish Government should use these statistics as yet another reason to get on with building more social housing and ensuring councils have the resources to fix poor housing before it falls into disrepair.”