SNP Government accused of failing to rule out 12% rise in water fees

The SNP authorities has been accused of failing to rule out a 12 per cent rise in water fees on households subsequent yr amid the cost-of-living disaster.

Both Scottish and UK authorities’s are being urged to do extra to assist individuals get by the disaster which has hit households throughout the nation laborious.

Jackie Baillie, Labour MSP for Dumbarton, slammed the Scottish Government for signing off on a two per cent rise above inflation on payments.

With inflation predicted to hit as excessive as 10 per cent it means Scots might see a rise in water payments of 12 per cent.

In February, the agency introduced that fees for water and waste water would rise by 4.2 per cent for 2022/23.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie quizzed Michael Matheson on the water charges in Scotland
Labour MSP Jackie Baillie quizzed Michael Matheson on the water fees in Scotland

Baillie urged Michael Matheson, the Net Zero, Energy and Transport minister, to reverse the rise in charges to assist households who’re battling the cost-of-living disaster.

Scottish Labour’s deputy chief mentioned: “After hitting households with eye-watering rate rises in the middle of a cost of living crisis, the Cabinet Secretary seems to be planning on piling more pressure on next year.

“The SNP authorities signed off a water charge rise for subsequent yr of inflation plus 2%. That would imply a staggering 12% rise.

“Plans for inflation-busting increases are all the more staggering when Scottish Water are sitting on almost £500 million of reserves and handing executives a quarter of a million pounds in bonuses.

“The SNP should begin standing up for struggling households and pledge to place a cease to regressive rip-off charges rises subsequent yr.”

Baillie additionally quizzed Matheson on the issue in parliament, however he failed to address the issue when it was raised.

Scottish Parliament exchange

Jackie Baillie asked Matheson : “At a time when Scots are experiencing the worst price of dwelling disaster in a era, Scottish Water is sitting on a minimum of £500 million of reserves, and its senior executives are getting eye-watering bonuses—not salaries, however bonuses—of £92,000, which is thrice the typical wage.

“Does the cabinet secretary believe that that is right, and will he rule out further rises of the retail price index plus 2 per cent next year, given that inflation is expected to be at least 10 per cent?”

He replied: “As I mentioned, the cash reserves that Scottish Water holds are not a surplus of funds; they are for identified projects that have to be delivered, and Scottish Water has to hold a working cash balance that is allocated as those investments roll out.

“That is what these funds are held for, and the determine goes up and down throughout the course of the yr and over totally different years.

“It is important that the member understands how the budgeting process operates, but given her question, it is clear that she does not.

“On the assist that we’re offering, the member will recognise that extending the council tax assist scheme that we offer for Scottish Water fees implies that, as a result of we’ve prolonged the discount to 35 per cent, households which are in receipt of the complete council tax discount low cost can pay much less beneath this yr’s water charges than they did again in 2021.

“As the member will recognise, targeting support to households with the lowest incomes is a key priority during the cost of living crisis. That is exactly what the scheme does, it assists households that have the lowest incomes with their water charges—and this year it reduces their water charges.”

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