Water companies need to do more to help cash-strapped households.
That’s the verdict from the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater), which suggests although more than half a million low-income customers are now receiving financial help to reduce their water bills, around 2.2 million other people struggling to afford water will not receive support unless providers fork out to help them.
The organisation claims the growth and impact of support schemes is “heavily constrained” by other customers’ willingness to help subsidise them and calls for water companies to direct more of their own profits into solving the issue.
It says regional variations in access and levels of assistance on offer must be resolved using a more uniform approach to simplify the system and protect the most financially vulnerable.
Andy White, Senior Policy Manager of CCWater, said: “Our lives depend on water so none of us should have to worry about whether we can afford it but for nearly three million households it’s a serious concern.”
“We are calling on water companies to bridge the gap by dipping into their own pockets to expand the support available, rather than exhausting the goodwill of their customers. People are far more willing to chip in when they see their water company playing its part.”