§ Mr. Cordle
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will seek powers to ease the burden of the local rates by transferring the cost of providing water supplies, sewage disposal and the related services, which are the responsibility of the various water authorities, to central Government.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
The water services are now, under the Water Act 1973, the responsibility of regional water authorities. These authorities are self-supporting financial bodies who meet their expenditure by charges; they are entirely separate from the rating system. I have no plans to increase Government expenditure by transferring the costs of these authorities to the Exchequer.