Water Rates

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th March 1974.

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Photo of Mr Geraint Howells Mr Geraint Howells , Cardigan 12:00 am, 18th March 1974

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what action he intends to take in view of the impending increase in the water rates in Wales.

Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris Secretary of State for Wales

I shall be discussing the matter this week with the Chairman of the Welsh National Water Development Authority. The hon. Member will be aware that a generous domestic rate relief for Wales was announced last week.

Photo of Mr Geraint Howells Mr Geraint Howells , Cardigan

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman willing to meet representatives of both the farmers unions and the local authorities in Wales to discuss these increases?

Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris Secretary of State for Wales

As I have indicated, I hope in the fairly near future to meet representatives of the two unions in Wales. Judging from the correspondence I have already seen I am sure that this will be one of the matters to be raised by them.

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that the increase in the water rate in Anglesey is projected as 422 per cent. at 1st April if something is not done in the meantime? Will my right hon. and learned Friend discuss that with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment as a matter of urgency, with a view to suspending the increase in view of its contribution to inflation in the area?

Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris Secretary of State for Wales

My right hon. Friend drew this matter to my attention in the first few days of the Government. Of course, he is also deeply aware that this is pad of the inheritance that we received from the last Government. However, I can bring him some comfort, because, as he knows, the county of Anglesey will benefit from the rate relief grant announced last week.

Photo of Sir Raymond Gower Sir Raymond Gower , Barry

Since we are dealing here with the most plentiful of all raw materials in the Principality, is it not one of those rare cases where we can embark upon a major scheme of new reservoirs in Wales, thus in due course anticipating a reduction in price?

Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris Secretary of State for Wales

The provision of supplies is not the whole story. We must also consider the cost of providing supplies to all the people, and that is part of the inheritance handed down from the last Government.