HC Deb 16 November 1933 vol 281 cc1130-1W

asked the Minister of Health if he will cause an inquiry to be made into the dissemination of diseases by rats; and what special measures he is taking in regard to the rat menace in connection with the present slum-clearance campaign?


Measures for the prevention of spread of disease by rats are in constant operation by my Department, particularly at ports, and in consultation with health authorities abroad. I do not consider that any special inquiry is necessary. Slum clearance no doubt displaces rats from their homes: and they should be prevented from settling else where if possible, but local authorities are, I am confident, alive to that.


asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that the amount, of destruction caused by rats in this country is estimated at £15,000,000 a year; and if he proposes to take action to enforce the Rats and Mice (Destruction) Act on a larger scale than that involved in the present institution of Rat Week?


I am aware that a great amount of destruction is caused by rats. Under the Rats and Mice (Destruction) Act, 1919, it is incumbent on the occu- piers of infested premises to take all necessary and reasonably practicable steps to destroy rats and mice. Local authorities are responsible under the Act for the enforcement of its provisions, and are also entrusted with the duty of advising oh the best methods of rat-destruction. The Ministry has power to take action in the event of default by local authorities. Apart from this the Department has no powers beyond those of general supervision and propaganda such as Rat Week.