HC Deb 04 March 1975 vol 887 cc385-6W
Mr. Cordle

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what powers his Department has to exercise any degree of control over the size of the water rate demanded by the various water authorities.

Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what control is exercised by his Department over the charges for water made by water authorities and water companies.

Mr. Denis Howell

My Department exercises no formal control over water services charges which, under the Water Act 1973, are the responsibility of the water authorities themselves. Section 30(6) of the Act empowers the Secretary of State to make directions as to the criteria to be applied in fixing charges. We have

Average Water Rate 1974–75 Estimated Average Water Rate 1975–76 Percentage Increase 1975–76 over 1974–75
p p Per cent.
Regional Water Authorities:
North West 5.5 8.7 58.2
Northumbrian 5.15 7.43 44.0
Severn-Trent 4.8 7.2 50.0
Yorkshire 7.05 10.06 42.7
Anglian 5.8 7.6 31.0
Thames 3.1 3.85 24.0
Southern 5.0 6.9 37.0
Wessex 5.7 7.5 31.58
South West 7.3 10.0 37.0
Welsh National Water Development Authority 11.1 16.0 44.0

year of the railways total annual expenditure; what was the total in each year of public subsidies to the railways both for operations and on capital account; and what were the annual deficits incurred by British Rail for each of the above years.

Mr. Mulley

Following is the information:

no plans to invoke this section in relation to charges in 1975–76, but my right hon. Friend has urged the water authorities to exercise maximum economy in order to keep the increase in charges as low as possible.

Mr. Cordle

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list every water authority in England and Wales and, where applicable, every water company and show the water rate charged in the current year, that proposed for the forthcoming year and the percentage increase from 1974–75 and 1975–76.

Mr. Denis Howell

This information is not at present available for water companies. The table below shows for each water authority the average water charge in 1974–75, the expected average charge in 1975–76, and the percentage increase from one year to the next: