The Committee stage began on 1st February and by 17th February the Government were glad to announce that it was too late for the Bill to become effective this year. That is the truth of the matter. The Government have been in no hurry to get the Bill on to the statute book. As a number of us forecast on Second Reading, the House is divided on the Bill according to constituency interest. Those who stand to gain are for it and those who stand to lose are opposed to it—though there are some who rise above such mundane considerations and take a national view.
Welsh Conservative Members said that we were in favour of part equalisation when the consultative document first appeared. That seemed to us to he an extension of the principle of equalisation already operating within individual authority areas. We were also for partial equalisation because it was a measure designed to reduce our very high water charges in Wales, and it was bound to command our support. Others in the House who have not suffered rising water charges to anything like the same extent as we have can only imagine the desperate situation in which we have found ourselves in recent years. Therefore, any alleviation provided by the Bill will be welcome.