5.8% rise in water charges

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The Independent Online

Households face an inflation-busting rise in their water bills, the industry regulator Ofwat has said.

From April, charges will rise by an average of 5.8 per cent across England and Wales. This will take the average annual household water bill to £330.

The regulator justified the hike by saying that extra cash was needed to fund improvements in supply and leak-prevention: "Any bill increases are going to be unwelcome, but these are essential to enable companies to continue to provide secure, high-quality water and sewerage services, both now and for future generations."

Some parts of the country will be hit harder than others. For example, customers of Southern Water and Wessex Water will see their bills rise by 7 per cent – more than three times the current rate of inflation.

The Consumer Council for Water has responded by saying that customers are not seeing any discernable benefit for their extra money. It has called on the regulator to tread carefully when setting the next round of prices.

Rising water bills will heap the pain on hard-pressed families who are also having to pay a lot more for food, electricity and gas.

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