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Response to DEFRA Consultation on Water Charges in the South West Water Area

Volume 531: debated on Monday 18 July 2011

The Petition of residents of Torbay,

Declares that the Petitioners welcome the Government’s commitment to fair and affordable water and sewerage services; and further notes the recommendations contained in paragraph 4.18 of the consultation document “Affordable water: a consultation on the Government’s proposals following the Walker Review on Charging”.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to enhance the Water Sure scheme, to introduce a social tariff to benefit water consumers on low incomes and to introduce an annual payment of £40 million to South West Water from public funds to reduce water bills so that they are close to the national average for identical services.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr Adrian Sanders, Official Report, 22 June 2011; Vol. 530, c. 444 .]

[P000931]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

The Government’s consultation on water affordability closed on 17 June. Paragraph 4.18 of the consultation document invited views on a number of options that could provide additional Government spending to provide further support for households in the South West.

Around 100 responses were received, including responses from Ofwat, the Consumer Council for Water, water and sewerage companies, organisations that represent vulnerable households and individual responses from households in the South West Water area.

The Government are currently considering these responses. We will publish a Water White Paper by December to set out how we will support households who face water affordability pressures and households in areas with particularly high water bills, such as the South West.