Domestic Water Charges

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th March 1977.

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Photo of Mr Philip Goodhart Mr Philip Goodhart , Beckenham 12:00 am, 16th March 1977

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to charge for the use of water in domestic households by the introduction of meters.

Photo of Mr Philip Goodhart Mr Philip Goodhart , Beckenham

Does the Minister recognise that the introduction of water meters into the average household would lead to an enormous increase in administrative costs?

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

The capital cost of fitting water meters in all domestic households would amount to between £650 million and £950 million. It would cost something between £6.50 and £9.50 to service and read such meters. I cannot believe that such an imposition is possibly justified.

Photo of Mr Arthur Jones Mr Arthur Jones , Daventry

Will the Minister confirm that companies now have the right to meter supplies? Will this matter be dealt with in the Government's forthcoming White Paper?

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

I have just said that we have no intention of encouraging the provision of meters in domestic households. Under the legislation passed by the previous Administration, authorities have the right to go in for metering, but I am glad to say that the Secretary of State has the right to prevent them from so doing if he wishes to do so.