Water Charges

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th April 1995.

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Photo of Mr Dafydd Wigley Mr Dafydd Wigley Leader and Party President, Plaid Cymru 12:00 am, 24th April 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received on proposals to amend the system of charging for water in Wales. [18737]

Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Secretary of State for Wales

Welsh Water has written to me seeking an extension to the use of rateable values and the release of council tax data. I receive other representations on water charging from time to time.

Photo of Mr Dafydd Wigley Mr Dafydd Wigley Leader and Party President, Plaid Cymru

Will the Secretary of State give an assurance that he will not follow the advice of Mr. Ian Byatt, Director General of Water Services, that there should be a move towards compulsory water metering? That would be wholly unacceptable in terms of public health and it would also be inordinately expensive, imposing additional costs on the already very high water charges. Will the Secretary of State work in co-operation with Welsh Water to achieve a system based on the banding or an amended banding, and avoid the crazy suggestions from the Office of Water Services?

Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Secretary of State for Wales

There is a great deal to be said for stability, which I believe can best be achieved by using the current rateable values—while giving people the option, where circumstances permit, to choose meters if they think that that would be advantageous or fairer for them. I shall take the hon. Gentleman's representations fully into account in any further discussions we may have with colleagues in England and with the director general.