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Water Bills

Volume 450: debated on Friday 20 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to assist those in the South West who are on low incomes with payment of their water bills. (94263)

A pilot study is currently under way in the South West which seeks to target water affordability assistance to low income households. It is looking at the combined impacts of several measures on water affordability, including benefit entitlement checks, meter installation and water efficiency measures. The results of the study are expected in summer 2007.

DEFRA is also working with water companies and Ofwat to look at the distributional impact of tariffs on low income households. We expect the results of this work towards the end of 2006.

Householders in metered properties may be eligible for assistance under the Vulnerable Groups Regulations 1999 if:

they receive certain income related benefits, and either

have, or have a dependant who lives with, a medical condition requiring additional use of water, or

have three or more children.

If eligible, a household’s water bill will be capped at the average for that region.