HC Deb 14 June 1978 vol 951 cc572-3W
52. Dr. Glyn

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, in view of the sudden increase in the cost of supply of water, if he will move to establish a Select Committee to inquire into the current costs of water authorities, the future demand for water, the requirement for capital investment and the source of capital for investment, respectively.

Mr. Denis Howell

The Select Committee on Nationalised Industries already has power to examine the reports and accounts of water authorities, and, as the hon. Member knows, a Price Commission Report of its investigation of the Thames Water Authority was laid before Parliament on 8th June.

There has been no sudden large increase in the cost of water. The average increase in charges this year in England and Wales for domestic water supply is about 7½ pe rcent. and for sewerage and environmental services about 5 per cent. The apparent sizeable increases in certain water authority bills have occurred because these now include charges for sewerage and environmental services which were previously collected by local authorities with the general rate demand on the water authorities' behalf.