HC Deb 16 March 1977 vol 928 c375
7. Mr. Goodhart

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to charge for the use of water in domestic households by the introduction of meters.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Mr. Denis Howell)


Mr. Goodhart

Does the Minister recognise that the introduction of water meters into the average household would lead to an enormous increase in administrative costs?

Mr. Howell

The capital cost of fitting water meters in all domestic households would amount to between £650 million and £950 million. It would cost something between £6.50 and £9.50 to service and read such meters. I cannot believe that such an imposition is possibly justified.

Mr. Arthur Jones

Will the Minister confirm that companies now have the right to meter supplies? Will this matter be dealt with in the Government's forthcoming White Paper?

Mr. Howell

I have just said that we have no intention of encouraging the provision of meters in domestic households. Under the legislation passed by the previous Administration, authorities have the right to go in for metering, but I am glad to say that the Secretary of State has the right to prevent them from so doing if he wishes to do so.