§ Mr. BONWICK
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the people who drew his attention to the disabilities to which they are being subjected through the failure of the Crawley and District Water Company to carry out their statutory obligations for supplying water, although increasing its charges by 66⅔ per cent., are now being informed that if they intend to maintain their objections they are each to pay a fee of £2 to the Ministry of Health; and whether, in view of the deterrent effect such demand must have upon local residents in making their difficulties known to him, he is prepared to modify his demand or to undertake to refund the money after he has made the promised investigation?
Under the rules governing the procedure, a fee of £2 is required from any objector who desires to be heard at the public local inquiry. These fees have been paid in numerous instances without protest. I have power to refund the fee in any case where there are exceptional circumstances warranting this course, and I am prepared to consider, after the inquiry, whether I should be justified in doing so in this instance.