HC Deb 21 May 1993 vol 225 cc357-8W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment by what percentage(a) the retail prices index and (b) water and sewerage charges to consumers have increased since January 1987; to what extent the level of water and sewerage charges are determined by the Government; and if he will publish a table showing the increase in real earnings since April 1987 of those employed in the industry compared with the corresponding increase for full-time adult male manual workers in manufacturing industry.

Mr. Maclean

The percentage increase in the RPI from January 1987 to March 1993 was 39.3 per cent. The percentage increase in average household water and sewerage bills from the 1986–87 charging year to 1992–93 was 85 per cent. Under legislation, increases in water and sewerage charges are limited by the Secretary of State under his decisions in 1989 or under subsequent decisions by the Director General of Water Services. Within these overall limits, water and sewerage companies can apportion tariffs for different services, so long as they do not discriminate between customers or classes of customer. Relevant information on comparative earnings is available from the new earnings survey, copies of which are in the Library.