§ Dr. Roger Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many householders in Wales have had financial assistance towards the payment of water bills in each of the past four years; what are the exact criteria; what is the degree of need for such payments; if the contribution made through social security payments varies with such factors; what is the maximum and minimum paid; and what percentage these two amounts would be as a percentage of the original water bill;
(2) what is the total amount paid out by social security to alleviate water rate bills in Wales for each of the past four years.
§ Dr. Boyson
Help with water charges is given through the supplementary benefits scheme. Since the introduction of housing benefit special payment arrangements have applied in certain cases. Where the claimant is a tenant of a local authority which collects water charges or a private tenant paying rent which includes an unspecified amount for water charges, the charges are generally paid with housing benefits.
The following figures show the number of householders in Wales who were receiving supplementary benefit for each of the last four years up to the latest available date.
August 1980 139,000 August 1981 157,000 August 1982 172,000 August 1983 174,000
The full amount of the water charges payable is taken into account in the supplementary benefit assessment but the actual amount paid towards these charges will depend on the claimant's other income, if any. Information on the amounts included in the assessment and the amount paid towards water charges is not available.