Equalisation Payments to Be Made to Certain Water Authorities

Part of Orders of the Day — Water Charges Equalisation Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th March 1977.

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Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath 12:00 am, 16th March 1977

That may come in future. I should not dispute that. The hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends make a great mistake when they seek to impose a solution on water charging the result of which would be that Wales would make a profit from the water that it sold to England. In Committee I said that the result of that kind of propaganda was already being felt. People in the Severn-Trent and in the North-West authorities are already saying "Why should we make massive investments in Wales if that is what the Welsh nationalists want and what a Welsh Assembly might do at some distant time? We shall therefore build our reservoirs in England."

I remind the hon. Gentleman that England is the drainage authority for Wales. All the rivers in Wales flow into England. The Severn and the Wye flow from Wales into England. Therefore, the Severn-Trent and Conservative voices in other authorities are now beginning to say "Let us not put the investment in Wales. Let us put it in England." Therefore, the danger in what the Welsh nationalists and others in Wales are saying is that the Principality would be denied—