26 June 2020

Scottish Labour’s Finance Spokesperson, Jackie Baillie, has called for an urgent price review as she has revealed that the water regulator plans to double water prices by putting customers on a 20 year above inflation water price escalator.

The price rises escalator proposed by the regulator will force water prices above the £600 annual cost barrier for those who pay least; break the £1000 annual cost barrier for those in the middle; and the £1,800 annual cost barrier for those who pay most.

At the same time the privatised water companies in England are set to reduce water charges by 12 per cent over the next 5 years while facing most of the same challenges as Scotland in delivering water.

Commenting, Jackie Baillie said: “These bombshell price rises, coming at a time when families are facing a cost of living crisis and businesses are going to the wall, are probably one of Scotland’s best kept secrets.

“Everyone needs to know about the water regulator’s plans to put all water users on a price escalator for the next 20 years, more than doubling their water prices.”

Continuing, Jackie Baillie said: “It is staggering to see the full extent of the regulators intention to force up water prices in Scotland.

“The facts are hidden away in lengthy technical documents in a sub-section of the regulator’s website and they were put there without any publicity – no wonder they are trying to hide the details.

“It is only when you sit down and work out the figures that the truth emerges. People and businesses will face inflation busting bills.

“It is time for far more transparency and greater candour from the regulator and for public accountability. Last year the Scottish Government tried to scrap the single person’s water discount, increasing the bills of almost 1 million people. Now this Government is intent on piling an even greater financial burden on people and businesses that are already struggling.

“I have already called for a water price freeze because of the economic effects of Coronavirus and the devastating effect it is having on household and business budgets.

“ We should use a Coronavirus price freeze period for the regulator to explain their plans and be accountable for the strategy they have designed.

“The regulator is dressing this up as necessary to meet the government’s climate targets, but there is no surer way of discrediting the climate improving ambitions by just sticking your hand into other people’s pockets for the next 20 years.

“I have tabled a series of parliamentary questions to shine much-needed light on the regulator’s plans for a cash grab,"

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