§ Mr. Battle
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 5 December 1996,Official Report, columns 745–46, if he will estimate for the typical domestic customer the change in the combined gas, electricity and water bill between 1979 and 1996 in real terms. 
§ Mr. Jack
The information requested is given in the table. The typical domestic customer's gas and electricity bills have fallen in real terms, including VAT. There has however been an increase in water bills, which reflects the industry's large capital investment and environmental programmes. Taking this into account, a typical combined bill rose by about £7.70 in 1990 prices.34W
Electricity Gas Water and sewerage Total £ £ £ £ 1979 272.9 277.1 93.4 643.4 1996 200.7 272.4 178.0 651.1 Change -72.2 -4.7 +84.6 +7.7
Department of Trade and Industry, Department of the Environment.
Office of Water Services.
Electricity bills are based on a typical annual consumption of 3,300 kWh. The figures used are weighted averages for the UK, and include both VAT and the national grid discount.
Gas bills are based on an annual consumption of 17,600 kWh. The figures used are weighted averages for the UK, and include VAT.
Water and sewerage bills relate to 1979–80 and 1996. They are based on average unmeasured bills of customers of the water and sewerage companies in England and Wales.
All figures are in 1990 prices, and all have been deflated using the retail prices index deflator.