Date: 26 May 2021
Contact: Michael Potter, 07595410756/Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
For immediate release
Charity comments on Independent Review of Affordability Support in Water
Today (26th May 2021) is the launch of the Consumer Council for Water’s (CCW) Independent Review of Affordability Support in Water. The review, commissioned by Defra and Welsh Government in Autumn 2020, aimed to identify if changes to existing support measures, their financing, and delivery mechanisms, could provide greater benefits to households facing financial difficulty. It provides the first opportunity in over a decade to change the landscape of water affordability support in England and Wales, identifying and retaining good practice, and making recommendations for improvements to make support fairer for all.
Jess Cook, National Energy Action’s Water Poverty lead and contributor to the Review comments:
‘’No one should have to skip meals to pay for essential bills. We estimate that over 5 million customers are in water poverty and struggling to afford the water they need for their daily lives, with 2 million of these in severe water poverty. We called for a full review of social tariffs, their funding, eligibility criteria, and support levels, in May 2020. The Review of Water Affordability is a huge opportunity to change the landscape of support for low-income households living in water poverty, going even further than social tariffs to deliver tailored support for all in need.
“We agree with the Review and CCW, the water watchdog, that we must move away from the huge variance in current assistance programmes and aim to consistently support the most vulnerable utility consumers. We fully support their central recommendation for a new “social tariff”, based on lowering the percentage of people’s incomes spent on water and a number of other recommendations which could have a hugely positive impact for those struggling with their utility bills.
“It’s also encouraging to see a positive initial response by the UK Government to work with industry to build a stronger, better and fairer water service for those who need it most. We must maintain momentum across the water industry, the regulator and government to fully implement the breath of positive recommendations the Review makes. This is the start of a challenging journey, but one that sits at the heart of the UK Government’s levelling up agenda and if we succeed, we can make water bills affordable for all, and ending water poverty for good”.
The outcomes of the review will be shared in a live launch at 11am, www.ccwater.org.uk/affordability-review/
Notes to editor:
- NEA works across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that everyone in the UK can afford to live in a warm, dry home. To achieve this, it aims to improve access to energy and debt advice, provide training, support energy efficiency policies, local projects and co-ordinate other related services which can help change lives.
- NEA is working with Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) to deliver the ‘People Living in Water Poverty and Fuel Poverty’ work programme which aims to eradicate water poverty by 2030. The programme aims to establish an industry acknowledged definition of water poverty, and, understanding the links between water and fuel poverty, explore regional and national partnerships and projects to deliver positive outcomes for customers struggling with their utility bills.
- NEA’s response to the CCW Call for Evidence is available here: https://www.nea.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/NEA-Response-CCW-CfE-Water-Affordability-Review-Dec-2020-FINAL-Redacted.pdf
- NEA estimates that 5 million households are in water poverty based on a 3% bill-to-income ratio, with 2 million households in ‘severe water poverty’ based on a 5% measure.
- NEA’s water poverty programme works to four programme pillars:
- Consistent Measurement
- Tailored Support
- Managing Consequences
- Water Efficiency