Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has supported a motion tabled in the Scottish Parliament which calls on the Scottish Government to reverse its reported decision to increase water bills by 4.2%.
The motion, submitted by Labour MSP Jackie Baillie, asks for the decision to be reversed and, instead, asks that the Scottish Government freezes water prices at the 2021 level in order to help people in the grip of the cost of living crisis.
Mrs Grant, who last year called for a £100 water rebate to help struggling families, says this latest increase is unnecessary and will pile on the pressure families are already dealing with due to the energy price cap increase announced last week.
Rhoda Grant said “It is completely unnecessary to increase water charges in this way. Scottish Water has reserves of over £400 million of taxpayers money in its coffers so to introduce this rise, which is 2% higher than the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation, beggars belief. It is another devastating blow to Scotland’s already stretched household budgets.
“This is a tumultuous time for everyone with the rises in the energy price cap, the interest rate, National Insurance and now this water rise, on the back of the financial impact of the pandemic suffered by many.
Mrs Grant concluded “This is an appalling decision from a Scottish Government who, day on day, continue to display blatant disregard for the circumstances households up and down the country are facing. This decision shows the SNP Government is not only out of touch, but out of control. They need to reverse this decision, and reverse it now.”
The text of Jackie Baillie’s motion is below.
Motion Number: S6M-03101
Lodged By: Jackie Baillie
Date Lodged: 07/02/2022
Title: Freeze Scottish Water Charges
That the Parliament believes that the new Scottish Water charges, which will begin in April 2022, will add pressure to the household finances of thousands of people across the country; understands that the increases, which it considers to be inflation-busting, were signed off by the Scottish Government and that charges for water have been set at the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation, plus 2%; further understands that Scottish Water has reserves of over £400 million, which, it considers, is taxpayers’ money, and calls on the Scottish Government to reverse its reported decision to increase water bills by 4.2% and, instead, to freeze water prices at the 2021 level in order to help people across the country who, it believes, are set to be far worse off because of the reported cost of living crisis.