Government criticised over lack of social tariffs

The Industry and Regulators Committee has sent a letter to the government, highlighting concerns about various issues, including underinvestment, increasing water bills and the absence of social tariffs

The House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee has written a letter criticising the government for not implementing social tariffs to help people struggling with their water bills.

The letter also mentions concerns about underinvestment in water infrastructure, the delay in banning plastic-containing wet wipes and the government’s response to these issues.

The committee said: “Significant past underinvestment in the sector has left a cumulative backlog of investment in the face of the significant challenges of reducing water pollution and increasing water supply. The need for investment in the sector is huge.”

The committee is calling on the government to increase investment in the water sector, provide guidance to regulators, introduce social tariffs, set long term investment goals, use water meters, and clarify its plans for sustainable drainage.

Chair of the committee, Lord Hollick, says there’s a lack of policy and leadership in the water sector, and the government needs to provide clearer guidance to regulators.

Lord Hollick, Chair of the Industry and Regulators Committee, said: “While the government has begun to set out its vision for the sector, our cross-party committee has concluded unanimously that there is insufficient policy or drive to meet the government’s targets.

“Sadly, the only thing that is becoming clear in the murky, polluted waters of the sewage crisis is a lack of leadership and deep-rooted complacency.

“The government must therefore provide firmer policy detail and greater guidance to regulators, who cannot be left to resolve these huge challenges by themselves.”

A Defra spokesperson told Energy Live News: “We take our oversight of the water industry incredibly seriously and firmly disagree with these conclusions.

“We are delivering increased investment, stronger regulation, and tougher enforcement right across the sector. This includes being the first government to set ambitious targets for water companies to address storm overflows, which the High Court has ruled go even further than existing law.

“We agree that more needs to be done. That’s why we are introducing unlimited penalties for polluters, driving the largest infrastructure programme in water company history, and have set clear expectations for water companies to deliver the changes that we all want to see.”

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