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Water and waste charges to increase by 8.8%

Scottish Water customers will face an 8.8% increase in charges from April 1 (PA)
Scottish Water customers will face an 8.8% increase in charges from April 1 (PA)

Water and waste charges are to increase by 8.8% from April.

Scottish Water announced annual household bills for water will increase by around £35.95 for the year 2024/25.

Charges are set by the Scottish Water board at a level consistent with the final determination for charges for the 2021 to 2027 period, which are set by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland.

Around half of households in Scotland receive financial support with water charges.

Scottish Water said further significant investment is needed in the coming years to deal with rapidly increasing climate change impacts, population shift, and ageing infrastructure.

The company said it serves more than 2.6 million households, supplying more than 1.5 billion litres of water and removing and treating more than a billion litres of used and surface water daily.

Household customer charges generate around £1.5 billion annually, Scottish Water said, supporting a round-the-clock service that brings water to customers’ taps and cleans waste water, returning it safely to the environment.

Alex Plant, chief executive of Scottish Water, said: “Our core services play a vital role in the daily lives of millions of people in Scotland.

“As a publicly-owned body, we have a clear responsibility to ensure what people pay is affordable and set at a fair level for both current and future generations.

“The board’s decision on charges for 24/25 recognises the need for significant investment to protect services now and for the future as climate change means that more volatile weather conditions are becoming the norm rather than the exception.

“Whilst increases in bills are never welcome, and we acknowledge that cost-of-living pressures remain, this 70p a week on average increase will set us on a pathway to recover ground lost over the past two years when charges were set at a level lower than allowed for under the regulatory settlement.

“These charges will help us continue to meet our customers’ expectations, enable investment for resilience, and strike a fair balance between what customers today are paying and what future generations will need to contribute.

“The water charges reduction scheme, and other discounts, exemptions and reliefs, which apply to around 50% of all households in Scotland, are in place to help customers who may struggle to pay.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie called on the SNP government to halt the increase.

She said: “This eye-watering increase will pile pressure on struggling families and it beggars belief that SNP ministers nodded it through.

“With everything from water charges to rail fares to income tax rising, the SNP’s rhetoric on the cost of living has been exposed as nothing but warm words.

“The SNP should stand up for Scots and stop this massive increase from going ahead.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Household water charges for Scotland are set by Scottish Water’s board with approval from the independent economic regulator. Ministers have no role in this process.

“Investment in our water and wastewater services is essential to maintain current high levels of performance and deal with the increasing impacts of the climate emergency.

“Scotland’s commitment to public ownership of our water industry means that every pound raised is reinvested in the water industry and has helped ensure average water bills in Scotland are lower than in England and Wales.”