§ Mr. Frank Field
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he will take to make it unlawful for water companies or others to cause a disconnection of a consumer's water supply.
§ Mr. Maclean
None. It is right that bills should be paid, but equally that companies should deal sympathetically with customers who are having difficulty meeting their bills. The Director General of Water Services is responsible for protecting customers' interests. He has expressed his concern over the level of disconnections, and issued guidance to water companies last year on the subject of debt and disconnection to ensure they take a consistent and fair approach towards customers with unpaid charges. The Director General is in addition proposing to carry out research to find out more about the reasons people are disconnected. The Government welcome the actions he is taking.