West Lancashire MP, Rosie Cooper has welcomed United Utilities very sensible decision to suspend the introduction of new water charges that would have cost faith groups, community sports clubs, scout and guide associations money they can ill afford.
A new charging regime for non-household sewerage customers was to be introduced in the financial year 2009/10. Water companies were to charge organisations on the basis of the area they occupied. This would have meant increased charges for many not-for-profit community organisations.
“I have been campaigning hard with a number of groups in West Lancashire who would have to pay more money for the service. In these difficult times such community and charitable organisations would not have been able to pay and their very basis threatened."
“I first raised this issue with United Utilities last summer. In recent weeks I attended a Parliamentary debate that covered this issue and spoke to Ministers."
“Even the water companies watchdog, OFWAT, said the United Utilities system had been ‘poorly implemented’."
“It is particularly pleasing to see that United Utilities have listened and have halted the plans for the new charges. We need to find a solution that works for everyone without unfairly penalising community groups and organisations who struggle to make ends meet as it is.”
United Utilities have announced they will freeze surface water drainage costs at the 2008/09 level calculated under the old system.
The moratorium applies to faith buildings, community and amateur sports clubs as well as scouts and guides association properties and will last for 12 months until United Utilities and OFWAT can find a longer-term solution.
Faith, scout and guide associations will have the 2008/09 prices automatically applied to their bill. There will be an application process for sports clubs to benefit from the moratorium as their bills.