§ Mr. Battle
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what results are available from the national water metering trials; when test trials are expected to be concluded; and what research is being done to take account of the special needs of pensioners and people with low incomes.
§ Mr. Heathcoat-Amory
Information on the costs and problems of installing water meters has been published in the second interim report on the national water metering trials, a copy of which is in the Library. The full results of the trials will not be known until they have been completed in about 18 months' time.
Help is available through the social security system towards the cost of water bills for low-income families and the disabled, although specific amounts are not identifiable. We are considering whether a study should be carried out to see whether metered water charges are causing significant problems for particular categories of customer.