Water Poverty

Social tariffs

Building on the fourth recommendation of our August 2019 discussion paper we are pleased to publish the next paper in the series, ‘Water Poverty: The Consistency of Social Tariffs’.

Social tariffs started being introduced in the water industry in England and Wales in 2013, following the Flood and Water Management Act (2010). They were designed to allow companies to address the local and regional needs of their customers and now provide bill reductions to over 700,000 households in England and Wales. But, seven years on from the introduction of the first social tariffs, the guidance has never been reviewed, and companies and customers have told us of some of the challenges they experience.

This paper outlines the issues identified with the current social tariff guidance, and sets out three key recommendations which aim to make this vital support fairer for all, remove the ‘postcode lottery’, and support the thousand of households still falling through the gaps.

The Covid-19 pandemic has completely changed our way of life. Millions of people across the UK are experiencing income volatility, reduced job security, and uncertainty about their futures, as well as an imposing threat on their health.

This accompanying paper has been written to consider how the health crisis has impacted the issues identified in the longer discussion paper. With so many unknowns, it can only briefly touch on the effects of the crisis, but shows that, with the limited knowledge we do have, the issues are only amplified by the uncertainty of this pandemic.

We are always interested in hearing your thoughts on our work to eradicate water poverty. If you would like to join the conversation, you can contact Jess Cook (Project Development Manager – Water Poverty) by emailing jess.cook@nea.org.uk