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NEWS ROUNDUP: Northumberland boundary shake up & pest control in Middlesbrough


County to lose an MP amid Northumberland boundary change and Middlesbrough council will not authorise free pest control for private properties.

Northumberland is expected to lose one of it's MPs. The political map for England's largest local authority is set to be torn up which could see Blyth Valley and Wansbeck merged into one constituency. News of the changes has received a mixed response from local MPs.

Firefighter assaults

Violent assaults on firefighters in Cleveland have increased over the past year according to the Cleveland Fire Brigade. Chief fire officer Ian Hayton said that offenders range from young children to young adults adding that violence to staff is a plague which all emergency services are acutely aware of. A council representative said those caught should be given the harshest punishment possible.

Middlesbrough Council pest control

Middlesbrough Council says it won’t offer pest control call-outs to residents living in private properties despite being the only local authority in the Tees Valley not to do so. A review by members of its economic development, environment and infrastructure scrutiny panel recommended the council should consider re-introducing a low cost pest control service.
The vice-chair of the panel that undertook the review, Councillor Brian Hubbard said a sum could be included in council tax charges to pay for it. Its report said for the council to break even financially from such a move a minimum of 2,000 home visits would be needed each year.
But Councillor Barrie Cooper, the executive member for environment, finance and governance, rejected the recommendation and said the council could not provide a service within its budget that was cheaper than the private sector.
He said: “We would be charging residents more than what they could get the job done privately.”
The council does provide pest control services in back alleys, council-owned open spaces, and council buildings, and has commercial contracts with private businesses.
It also has a joint contract with Durham County Council to provide pest control call-outs to tenants of the social housing group Thirteen.
Mayor Andy Preston said the council could add more value by “working harder and smarter”, educating people and committing more resources to making sure restaurants and takeaways clean up better, and that alleyways and communal areas were clean in order to prevent pests.
Mr Preston acknowledged that the rodent problem in particular had been bad in Middlesbrough in the last 18 months due to a combination of factors, but the same was also true nationally.
Middlesbrough Council story Written by Stuart Arnold, Local Democracy Reporter

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