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 do not want to make a judgment on the efficiency or otherwise of the Welsh authority. As regards the reorganisation of the water cycle, there is very little criticism anywhere of the sound common sense and the improved arrangements that lie behind the reorganisation of water supply. The placing of water supply and sewage disposal under one authority has been a very enlightened development. There is little disagreement between the two sides of the House about this. It is recognised to have been a major step forward. In a situation in which so much water is re-cycled, equalisation must militate against individual efficiency of management and not give the relative comparisons that are desirable.

I want to conclude in a vein which is not critical and hypersensitive. I have thoroughly enjoyed the proceedings on the Bill. I believe that in general the right hon. Gentleman has as well. Some of the remarks that have been made tonight have given quite the wrong impression of what I consider to have been a very useful exercise in examining carefully the proposals in the Bill.

Although we are against the Bill in principle, we shall not be dividing the House. That news will be received with joy by those who have remained. This is an unfortunate measure. It should have been rolled up in the major legislation which it is proposed to bring forward in a few months' time. We shall have to see to what extent the Bill is altered by those arrangements.