Skip to main content

Water Bills

Volume 587: debated on Thursday 30 October 2014

Ofwat will announce its current price review in December. The draft determinations indicate that average water bills in England and Wales will fall by up to 5% in real terms from 2015 to 2020. This will mean lower bills for hard-working taxpayers as part of our long-term economic plan.

I thank the Secretary of State for her reply, but is it not the case that the Government have allowed water companies to boost their profits by 12% while average households have lost 5% of income? When will the Government stand up to the fat cat water bosses?

If we look at how much water bills rose under Labour, we see that from 1999 to 2009 bills went up by 20%. Under the new tough regulation of Ofwat, we are seeing a potential reduction of up to 5%, meaning lower bills for consumers, more investment in the water industry, and cleaner rivers and beaches.

One way to reduce water bills is to reduce unnecessary water consumption, which occurs as more meters are rolled out. Another way to reduce costs is to cut leakage. What steps are being taken to encourage the water companies to increase the number of meters and to cut their leaks?

I completely agree with my hon. Friend. It is important that we make water usage more efficient. What we have seen since the industry was privatised 25 years ago is £116 billion of investment to upgrade infrastructure, reduce leakage, put in meters and make the industry more efficient.

What the Secretary of State has studiously avoided telling us is the record of this Government since 2010. Will she tell us what the percentage increase in water bills has been since 2010?

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the early price determinations under this Government were the result of the previous Government’s policy. The recent price determination that has happened on our watch is seeing a potential reduction in the draft determination of up to 5%. We have already seen water companies keep their bills low and stabilised in recent years.