IF you have bed bugs it will cost you £150 to have Leeds City Council get rid of them after it was decided to bring domestic pest control ‘back in-house’.

The rate equates to a 150 per cent increase - from £60 to £150 - for the service and stands alongside the increased cost of treatment for fleas - £60 to £90 (a 66 per cent increase) and rats/mice - £85 to £125 (50 per cent increase). The treatment of pests such as flies, ants, wasps, beetles, moths and silverfish would remain the same at £60, but dealing with squirrels would go up by £10 to £110.

A report published in late May showed the chief officer elections and regulatory, John Mulcahy, had signed off the delegated decision notice to begin using technicians employed by the council. The report said the move would improve customer service, remove contractor costs and generate income for the council while offering a ‘better quality service’.

The report covering all wards added: “The charges for some pest control treatments have been increased to reflect current operating costs and to bring charges in line with those charged by other local authorities.”

However eyebrows have been raised at rises during the current cost of living crisis.

Cllr Paul Wadsworth (Conservative Guiseley and Rawdon) shadow spokesman for environment and housing said: “Whilst I understand the scope of the pest control service is limited, and the argument has already been trotted out that these increases bring charges in line with private sector companies, how can excessive increases of this magnitude be justified on already hard-pressed residents?

“And, if commercial parity is the case, won’t residents just use a private company instead, thereby depriving the council of much-needed revenues?

“The council is there to operate as a not-for-profit organisation to benefit all Leeds residents. I fear that those on low incomes won’t even approach the council fearing they may have to pay the full charge.”

The domestic service has been provided by an external contractor since May 2007. Figures show that between March 31 2020 and April 1 2021, 4,870 pest treatment were outsourced, up 821 cases on the previous year.