Consumer watchdog welcomes governments move to reduce water bills in the South West.
The Chancellors autumn statement promises an average of £50 per household will come from taxpayers money to support customers of South West Water with their bills.
Charles Howeson, Chair of the Consumer Council for Water Western, said: We have long argued that a solution to the fairness of charging for water in the South West needs to come from government. Customers see this as an acceptable solution as tax revenues, unlike water bills, are based on peoples ability to pay.
While these measures will help improve the fairness of South West Waters bills, we would also like to see government addressing water affordability for all customers across England and Wales.
As a result of the cost of environmental improvements, South West Waters prices have historically been high. Their customers pay for the upkeep of 30 per cent of the country’s coastline, despite Devon and Cornwall representing just three per cent of the population, and this contributes to the fact that today the average South West Water bill is £517 compared to the England and Wales average of £356. Many customers in the region pay over £1,000 a year.
Water affordability in the region is a genuine problem. South West Water customers are the least satisfied with the value for money of their water and sewerage services and a quarter of their customers say their bills are unaffordable.
Only 39% of customers in the region feel their charges are fair, compared to 66% across England and Wales.