HC Deb 03 February 1970 vol 795 cc71-2W
68. Mr. Scott-Hopkins

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what estimate he has made of the cost of charging for the domestic consumption of water by means of using meters to measure the amount of water provided, in place of the present system of basing water rate demands on the rateable value of the property concerned.

Mr. Denis Howell

The Sub-Committee on Water Charges of the Central Advisory Water Committee estimated in 1962 that it would cost £2 a year to meter a typical household supply, and it did not recommend it because the cost in relation to the cost of the supply would have been disproportionately large.

A very recent estimate indicates that metering would add a sum of that order or possibly more to the average domestic bill for water, assuming that consumption remained the same.

69. Mr. Scott-Hopkins

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government (1) whether he will set up a committee of inquiry to examine the question of water rating and report on the possibility of introducing a method of charging for water that would reflect the real costs of providing water to different households;

(2) what consideration he has given to taking steps to replace the present system of charging for water with one under which rates would be levied in accordance with the number of taps installed on a property rather than with its general rateable value.

Mr. Denis Howell

These matters have already been examined by the Water Charges Sub-Committee of the Central Advisory Water Committee, which reported in 1963 that, all things considered, the water rate was the most suitable method of charging for household supplies. It considered, among others, a charge based on the number of water fittings, and concluded that it was not desirable. I do not think conditions have altered significantly since the sub-committee reported.