FEARS have been raised about rats and stray dogs scavenging through rubbish following plans to cut free bin bags, pest control and the dog warden.

Southend Council wants to scrap free black bin backs and pest control, and outsource its stray dog service, as it struggles to fill a £10million black hole in its budget.

However critics are worried about rodent infestation fuelled by loose litter, especially in poorer areas, and the council may even end up spending more money in clean-up costs than it would save.

Martin Terry, leader of the borough’s independent councillors, said: “This is lose-lose all the way through.

“It will cause a bad problem on the street scene and won’t save any money. It’s a saving to nowhere.

“You could have rats and dogs going through the rubbish and dog mess everywhere.”

The Tory administration has proposed scrapping the black bags delivered to every household in the borough twice a year to save £47,000.

The council’s pest controller would go, saving £37,000, with details of private firms put on its website instead.

It also plans to outsource its stray dog service to a private contractor in a bid to save a further £37,000.

The council claims it is scrapping black bin bags to encourage people to recycle in a bid to cut the rising cost of land fill tax.