§ Mr. Ken Hargreaves
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will assist households on low incomes with the costs of replacing lead water supply pipes in dwellings.
§ Mr. Yeo
My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales and I have today written to local authority associations, the water industry, and other organisations, seeking their views on proposals to extend minor works assistance, under the provisions of part VIII of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. We propose that local authorities be given wider scope in providing discretionary assistance to meet the cost of replacing lead water supply pipes to all owner occupiers or tenants on income-related benefits.
This will complement the action water companies are taking to reduce plumbosolvency in water supplies and replace their section of lead service pipes. Where lead levels in water nevertheless remain high because of lead plumbing in houses or flats, the local authority will be able to help all those least able to meet the costs of these works, especially families with young children. This is intended to encourage modernisation of homes and protect public health while at the same time targeting resources where they are most needed.
A copy of the consultation paper has been deposited in the Library.