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 Alec Jones Mr Alec Jones , Rhondda 12:00 am, 16th March 1977

I thought that in his remarks the right hon. Gentleman was mentioning what was omitted from the Bill. I know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that you called the right hon. Gentleman to order when he referred to water storage in Wales and said that arrangements would be made by the regional water authorities in England if the Welsh nationalists pursued their policies in this respect.

I feel myself that this is a minor Bill, but its purpose is questionable, particularly in terms of the lateness of its presentation in the House and the prospect of a major water Bill. It was said that we should have a White Paper in the early spring, but perhaps it is such a contentious measure that will be contested very seriously, that it, too, will be delayed.

Equalisation arrangements such as these strike at the roots of qualitative management and the comparative efficiency of one water authority against another, as well as the records of the private water companies. In that respect the measure is widely considered to be a dis-service to the water industry. It has been said with some justification that the subject was tied to devolution. Indeed, the remarks of the Secretary of State for Wales are an indication that devolution proposals were partially responsible for this measure.