Campaign to bring down South West Water Rates
Originally posted on 15.12.09
Following initial discussions last week local MP and Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Water, Andrew George, will arrange talks between his fellow MPs, the water regulator (Ofwat) Regina Finn and Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Huw Irranca-Davies MP to press the case for a national tariff to bring down South West Water customer’s bills.
Mr George is arranging the meeting after the recent publication of the Anna Walker Review on Water Charging. The review proposes, for the first time, methods to address the legacy of South West water rate payers having to pay substantially higher bills than the rest of the country. Anna Walker proposed either through a one off Government cash injection, a charge to all water rate payers nationwide or an additional summer usage charge. Anna Walker’s Review proposes a number of other options for the Government and for OFWAT, the industry regulator.
On the publishing of the Walker Report Mr George said: “When the Conservatives privatised the water boards they created a risk-free money making concern where water company shareholders could effectively plan their future years’ dividends.
“I welcome Anna Walker’s recommendations. The ball is now firmly in the Government’s court. It is highly unlikely that any Government will agree any additional public expenditure in the present climate.
“However, local water rate payers have to pay for meeting the costs of cleaning and maintaining our bathing beaches. These are a national asset. Local people have to pay for this. It’s like asking just the tax payers of London to solely pay for the British Museum or the National Gallery just because it’s on their doorstep.
“Water companies withstood a windfall profit tax, so they can withstand a charge which reasonably spreads the cost of maintaining Britain’s bathing beaches. It would be a small charge – about £1.50p – far less than the £150 higher than average bills which South West Water customers have been paying over the years.”
In his role as Secretary of the APPG on Water Mr George is arranging the meeting for the new year.