HC Deb 08 February 2001 vol 362 cc639-40W
Mr. Hilary Benn

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the average cost was of(a) water supply charges and (b) sewerage charges for English households in each decile income group; and what percentage of total household income within each decile these charges represent in each of the last five years. [148289]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth

The average charge for(a) water supply and (b) sewerage charges for all households in England and Wales since 1996–97 was as follows.

£ Year Water Sewerage
2000–01 102.73 115.79
1999–2000 112.64 134.45
1998–99 108.67 128.59
1997–98 105.34 122.40
1996–97 102.15 118.37

Information bearing on the subject of water and sewerage charges and their relation to household income is to be found in three published sources which are in the Library.

First, the Office of Water Services publish the charges of each water and each sewerage undertaker and national averages in an annual series of reports, "Tariff Structure and Charges".

Secondly, my Department commissioned and published a report by Maxwell Stamp, "Incidence Effects of Charging for Domestic Water and Sewerage Services", in July 1998. This includes tables modelling the gains and losses for households in each income decile of alternative water charging arrangements. Third, "Quality of Life Counts" included an indicator showing the percentage of households spending more than 3 per cent. of their net income on water for each of the past four years from 1994–95 to 1997–98.

Both the Maxwell Stamp report and the "Quality of Life Counts" indicator used data from the DSS Family Resources Survey. The production of the information in the form requested will require fresh calculations, and I shall write to my hon. Friend when these are complete.