Water bills to rise by average 6% from April – as price hike branded 'a disgrace'

The common family water and sewerage invoice in England and Wales is to go up by a mean 6% from April to assist unlock “record investment”, an business group has introduced.

Water UK stated the will increase, equal to £27 a 12 months, would depart households with a mean annual invoice of £473.

The physique stated the rise, whereas down on the earlier 12 months’s hike, was wanted to fund infrastructure enhancements following a backlash over deliberate sewage discharges and poor water provide resilience.

It introduced in October final 12 months that it was searching for permission for a a lot better contribution from bill-payers over the second half of the last decade.

In return for the cash, the proposed marketing strategy promised 10 new reservoirs, to chop leaks and cease the equal of 6,800 Olympic-sized swimming pools-worth of sewage spills.

Water UK stated the most recent hike would unlock a document £14bn funding to make sure provide safety and “significantly reduce” the quantity of sewage in rivers and seas.

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Oct: ‘Sewage scandal’ in water system

It stated that greater than two million low-income households would obtain assist to fulfill the will increase.

Customers of Wessex Water and Anglian Water face the best common expenses of £548 and £529 respectively, whereas Northumbrian clients will see the bottom common payments of £422.

Those houses underneath Britain’s largest provider, Thames Water, will see their common cost rise by £15 regardless of poor efficiency.

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Oct: What precipitated Britain’s sewage disaster?

In June final 12 months, Sky News revealed how fears that Thames could possibly be swept away underneath the load of its debt pile had prompted the federal government to prepared a rescue plan.

Its buyers later agreed an extra £750m of funding.

In December, Thames divulged an 18% rise in air pollution incidents in the course of the first half of its monetary 12 months – and that its debt pile had grown to £14.7bn.

Among the tasks set to obtain funding over the approaching 12 months is the 25km Tideway tremendous sewer, which is able to divert storm flows away from the River Thames for the primary time.

It goals to scale back sewage air pollution poured into the river by 95%.

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Dec: Thames Water cannot pay £190m

Water UK chief govt David Henderson stated: “Next year will see record levels of investment from water companies to secure the security of our water supply in the future and significantly reduce the amount of sewage in rivers and seas.

“Up and down the nation clients will see the outcomes of this funding with greater than 2,000 kilometres of pipes being repaired or changed and extra capability to deal with sewage than ever earlier than.

“At the same time support for customers is doubling with more than two million families now being helped with their bills.

“Anyone with worries ought to contact their water firm and, it’s price remembering, water firms won’t ever lower anybody off or make them use a prepayment meter.”

Southern Water
Pic: PA

Chief govt of regulator Ofwat, David Black, responded: “We are very aware, for those who are already struggling, this will be a real worry.

“As such, water firms should do all they will to guard those that are most in want of a serving to hand.”

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The rise comes amid ongoing regulatory concern over dividends paid out by water firms to shareholders.

In December, South East Water revealed it paid out £2.3m in dividends to investors despite widened losses and a £3m cost hit from summer heatwaves and supply interruptions.

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Details of the payout got here because the provider – which is underneath investigation by Ofwat over its service to clients and document in sustaining a water provide – reported pre-tax losses of £18.1m for the six months to September 30, in opposition to losses of £12.7m a 12 months earlier.

Just days earlier, Thames introduced a £37.5m dividend to its father or mother firm – with the payout being probed by Ofwat over issues it might have damaged guidelines designed to guard clients and the atmosphere.

The Liberal Democrats’ atmosphere spokesperson Tim Farron MP stated: “This is a kick in the teeth from the same dodgy water firms who pollute rivers with sewage whilst pocketing millions in bonuses. They have no shame.

“This value hike is a shame and must be scrapped instantly. There must be no value rises till water companies scrap insulting abroad dividends and exec bonuses. It is a scandal that Conservative Ministers are simply letting water companies get away with this.”