HC Deb 12 November 1968 vol 773 cc190-1
7. Mr. Alison

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will instruct the Pontefract, Goole, and Selby Water Board to defer, during the present period of restraint on prices and incomes, the increase in water rates which it proposes to levy on residents of the Selby area of Yorkshire.

Mr. K. Robinson

I am not aware of any proposed increase. The current water rate is higher than last year's, but it came into force last April and most of the rates have already been collected.

Mr. Alison

Is the Minister aware that he has uttered a profound understatement? May I point out that one of my constituents has suffered an increase in his water rate bill of from £8 to £41, and he pays on the same rateable value? Such a scale of increase would have invoked lynch law in an earlier age. Would he please see that this is reduced?

Mr. Robinson

I agree that the increase, relatively, is very large. I also understand that water rates in Selby have been virtually unchanged since 1930. When one has standardisation, the greatest impact obviously falls on those who have the cheapest rates.

Mr. Blackburn

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Pontefract, Goole and Selby Water Board is not the only Board about which there are complaints? Does he realise that for some months I have been in correspondence with his Department about the West Pennine Water Board? Is he aware that many of my constituents have had increases of between 40 per cent. and 60 per cent. and that one firm has had an increase of 376 per cent.? Does he not think that it is time for some investigation into this?

Mr. Robinson

I will look into the case that my hon. Friend has raised with my Department. It is perfectly true that, when standardisation takes place, there are bound to be complaints from those whose rates go up.