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How much water do YOU use?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Water Bills
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  • PhonixPhonix Forumite
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    The Labour Government had the opportunity to re-nationalise but didn't and won't.

    That's 'New Labour', what Thatcher called "my greatest achievement".
    Presumably you feel the same about gas and electricity supply, railways, airlines etc?

    Not at all, I've always been in favour of opening up these markets.


    However when it comes to water I think the buck should stop. Water is essential to our living, if we go without it for a week we will die. You'd feel very different about it, if it were taken away from you.

    It's water and housing where the problems start with social problems start with privatisation. However my knowledge of the housing market isn't really good enough to comment on the effect of the 80s. I've always been abit anti mortages, because they seem to have become a tax on the poor.
  • SystemSystem Forumite
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    In Northern Ireland for years we were told that we were paying for our water through the rates system (same as your council tax). Now because of massive under-investment in the water infrastructure (not our fault the money wasn't spent correctly), the UK government (as opposed to our own who can't get off their backsides and earn their salaries) are trying to tell us we weren't actually paying for the water and new water rates are to be introduced based on the rateable value of our property.

    Is it true this is illegal in England and Wales?

    The unfair system they propose for NI is such that as usual the middle income people are paying proportionatley the most as the amount to be payed will be capped for those people with properties worth more than £350,000. They won't pay more than £750/mth.

    On principle I object to paying based on the rateable value of my property. My husband and I both work full time (paying a large amount of income tax and National Insurance)and I have one daughter living away from home at university (Newcastle upon Tyne - great city!!) and one still at school and we certainly will not be using as much water as others who are at home all day. According to the scant information we have been given they MIGHT introduce metering a few years down the line. In the meantime when the new water rates system is introduced I will remove all the water saving devices we have installed in our home to make sure we get our monies worth.

    Selfish and wasteful? oh yes I know it is but I am sick of being penalised because my house is worth more than someone elses.
    Water is a basic life sustaining commodity and since I don't pay more for a loaf of bread or a pint of milk than someone whose house is worth less than mine I don't see why I should pay more for the water.

    Sorry for ranting:( I just basically wanted to clarify the law on the mainland so that I can put the same points to my newly elected MP.
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Pam17 wrote:
    In Northern Ireland for years we were told that we were paying for our water through the rates system (same as your council tax). Now because of massive under-investment in the water infrastructure (not our fault the money wasn't spent correctly), the UK government (as opposed to our own who can't get off their backsides and earn their salaries) are trying to tell us we weren't actually paying for the water and new water rates are to be introduced based on the rateable value of our property.

    Is it true this is illegal in England and Wales?

    The unfair system they propose for NI is such that as usual the middle income people are paying proportionatley the most as the amount to be payed will be capped for those people with properties worth more than £350,000. They won't pay more than £750/mth.

    On principle I object to paying based on the rateable value of my property. My husband and I both work full time (paying a large amount of income tax and National Insurance)and I have one daughter living away from home at university (Newcastle upon Tyne - great city!!) and one still at school and we certainly will not be using as much water as others who are at home all day. According to the scant information we have been given they MIGHT introduce metering a few years down the line. In the meantime when the new water rates system is introduced I will remove all the water saving devices we have installed in our home to make sure we get our monies worth.

    Selfish and wasteful? oh yes I know it is but I am sick of being penalised because my house is worth more than someone elses.
    Water is a basic life sustaining commodity and since I don't pay more for a loaf of bread or a pint of milk than someone whose house is worth less than mine I don't see why I should pay more for the water.

    Sorry for ranting:( I just basically wanted to clarify the law on the mainland so that I can put the same points to my newly elected MP.

    To clarify the law in England.

    Rateable Value(RV) ceased in 1989 and local taxation(poll/council tax) since then is based on the value of houses - they are placed in a series of bands(A to H) with a maximum value of £350,000. Local Authorities can charge vastly different rates for a specific band depending on their spending and Government grants. A single adult in a household gets a 25% rebate. 2 or more pay the full rate.

    It was mandatory for all houses built after the RV system was abolished to have water meters fitted.

    Existing houses had the choice of using their RV as the basis for water charges, or having meters fitted.

    The problem with the RV system in England prior to 1989 was that it bore little relationship to the value of the house - the theory was that RV was based on the rent the house could command. For some reason this assumed that old houses were less desirable than new houses and hence they had a much lower RV.

    As you will have seen from other posts, in general, most people will have lower charges on a meter. The exceptions are those using a lot of water and in a house with a low RV.

    From your post, it appears that you are having the same pre-1989 UK system of water charges based on RV. However I don't understand how the capping at £350,000 comes in. How does a £350,000 value equate to a Rateable Value?

    RV in England was a figure of a few hundred pounds. Thus 2 houses both worth, say, £500,000 could have, say, RVs of £400 and £800 respectively and the latter would have paid double the water charges.

    Also your "£750/mth" figure is not understood. What is this for?
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Pam17,
    I looked it up on the net. NI residents are not to pay water charges based on the RV(as it was in UK ) but on the value of the property and the £750 is a maximum annual charge(phased in over 3 years)

    Have you seen this:

    IAN PEARSON: WATER CHARGES ARE BOTH FAIR AND NECESSARY
    No-one likes to pay taxes, but water charges are essential if we want better public services in Northern Ireland, Finance Minister Ian Pearson said today.
    The Minister set out his views on the financial aspects of the introduction of domestic water charging. He said: "It is important that the public has a clear understanding about why the Government is proposing the introduction of water charges. I want to add my perspective, as Finance Minister, alongside the points that have already been made by my colleague, John Spellar.
    "I know many people feel very strongly about this issue, but the debate has been affected by some prevailing myths, and it is important to be realistic. One myth is that people are paying in full for water through the rates and that we are asking them to pay twice. I accept that a charge for water was incorporated into the Regional Rate in 1990, but look at the figures. The Water Service received £328 million of public expenditure in 2004-05. The total amount raised through the Regional Rate in 2004-05 was £419 million, of which £186 million came from the domestic sector and £233 million from the non-domestic sector. So, if households are paying for water in full through the rates, they are paying very little for anything else. And that matters, because people here want better services.

    "It has been suggested that, because the Barnett Formula contains no provision for water and sewerage, they must be paid for out of the Regional Rates. This is simply not correct. The truth is that the Water Service is currently paid for both out of our share of general UK taxation and the Regional Rate, and whatever way you look at it, households in Northern Ireland pay substantially less on average in local taxes and charges – we pay about £509, compared to England and Wales (£1215) and Scotland (£1158). This means there is less to spend on other services.
    "I realise that no-one wants to pay increased taxes, but if we are serious about improving our schools, health service and transport infrastructure, then water charges are essential to release the funding we need. The debate now should be about how to introduce water charges in the fairest way possible, not whether they are needed.

    "I strongly believe that we should be very sensitive to the need to protect those on low incomes. That is why our planned approach is actually proposing more support than is available elsewhere in the UK. We can have a sensible argument about water metering and other payment schemes but let’s not ignore financial reality.

    "Another myth is that the big reinvestment in water and sewerage in other parts of the UK was paid for from general taxation, yet we are expecting people in Northern Ireland to pay for it themselves. The truth on this is that the reinvestment of over £50 billion since 1989, was paid for by the consumer through direct water charges. In England and Wales, the average domestic water bill rose from £206 (at today’s prices) in 1990, to £278 in 2005, an increase of 35% over general inflation. And water companies are now proposing additional charges in England and Wales, of up to 20% over the next period, to further modernise their water and sewerage systems.
    "The fact is, that Water Service in Northern Ireland needs up to £3 billion over this decade and the next, to protect public health, meet European standards on water quality and respond to increasing demand. We cannot opt out of these costs and we cannot ask the UK taxpayer to pay for Northern Ireland’s under investment, when they did not pay for the legacy of under-investment in the water service in England and Wales – it was paid for by direct water charges there. We need to face up to this reality and make the most of the opportunities that the water reform programme presents.
    "Of course, when a devolved administration is restored, the Executive and the Assembly will have the option of not introducing water charges. But that would mean very substantial reductions in the funding that could be provided for public services, such as health and education, than we could afford if we had water charges."

    The Minister went on to say: "The upside is that water charges will release resources for services such as health and education. They will also secure our access to £200 million a year of borrowing, which is actually over and above the allocation from Barnett. The downside is that unless water charges are brought in, the Northern Ireland budget will, within a few years, be around £500 million less per year than would otherwise be the case. That would have profoundly negative impacts on public services in the region. And that is the real choice that has to be made, by Government, by the political parties and by the people of Northern Ireland."


    I agree with you point about paying for what you consume and if I lived in NI I would be unhappy about having to now pay for water. However looking at the proposed charges it would appear that the average charges, even after the 3 year phasing-in, will still be less than those in England and Scotland.
  • SystemSystem Forumite
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    Sorry got the wording wrong I should have said it's based on the value of my property as opposed to the rateable value.

    At the moment our annual rates/council tax are £1150 because my 3 bedroom house is in a more desirable area and so is worth more than a similar house in a less desirable area. This means we will be paying approx £600 to £650 for our water rates which I think is scandelous whether it is phased in over 3 years or not.

    I am perfectly willing to pay for the water given that the rates I have been paying for the last 21 years have been miss spent. I do understand the need for investment in the infrastructure I just object to paying more than my fair share.
  • chrisxr2chrisxr2 Forumite
    150 posts
    I have had my water meter fited for six months and it has proved more expensive than being on rates, thankfully you can now choose to revert back to rates were it used to be the case that once you got a meter you were stuck. There are two of us in the house, regular showers, two or three a day, no hosepipe useage and washer on only at weekends.
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Pam17 wrote:
    Sorry got the wording wrong I should have said it's based on the value of my property as opposed to the rateable value.

    At the moment our annual rates/council tax are £1150 because my 3 bedroom house is in a more desirable area and so is worth more than a similar house in a less desirable area. This means we will be paying approx £600 to £650 for our water rates which I think is scandelous whether it is phased in over 3 years or not.

    I am perfectly willing to pay for the water given that the rates I have been paying for the last 21 years have been miss spent. I do understand the need for investment in the infrastructure I just object to paying more than my fair share.

    Pam17,
    As I said I certainly agree with you that water charges should be based on consumption. Your minister said:

    "The debate now should be about how to introduce water charges in the fairest way possible, not whether they are needed."

    Perhaps the lobby groups that are currently fighting against any water charges should take that advice.

    I am amazed that NI have not been given the option to have water meters for domestic properties when you can have them for commercial properties.
  • Dan29Dan29 Forumite
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    Cardew wrote:
    I changed to metered many years ago. My Rateable Value(house built in 1988) was just under £700 which in my area would mean water charges of over £1,100(at 2005 rates) had I not got a meter.

    This year based on consumption of 180 cu meters it will be £392.

    Last year the total for the same consumption was £337 - that shows how much charges have risen this year.

    Our house has an RV of "£177" which equates to a bill of £414 for 2005/6. I'm guessing that even though there are only two of us (with washing machine, dishwasher, hosepipe etc), the opportunity isn't there to save a great deal of money by switching to a meter?

    However our house has just been rebanded for council tax so presumably this may cause the RV to rise (if our appeal against the council tax rebanding is unsuccessful)?
    .
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Dan29 wrote:
    Our house has an RV of "£177" which equates to a bill of £414 for 2005/6. I'm guessing that even though there are only two of us (with washing machine, dishwasher, hosepipe etc), the opportunity isn't there to save a great deal of money by switching to a meter?

    However our house has just been rebanded for council tax so presumably this may cause the RV to rise (if our appeal against the council tax rebanding is unsuccessful)?

    The Rateable Value system finished in 1989 so it will not change from £177.

    £414 is high for a RV of £177 - £2.34 per £1 of RV. In my area(Severn Trent) it is £1.61 per £1 of RV and that is with surface water entering sewer instead of a soakaway.

    It seems the average consumption is 160-180 cu mtr per year - you can calculate your metered charges from that.
  • dougk_2dougk_2 Forumite
    1.4K posts
    Phonix wrote:
    However when it comes to water I think the buck should stop. Water is essential to our living, if we go without it for a week we will die. You'd feel very different about it, if it were taken away from you.

    It's water and housing where the problems start with social problems start with privatisation. However my knowledge of the housing market isn't really good enough to comment on the effect of the 80s. I've always been abit anti mortages, because they seem to have become a tax on the poor.

    Food is essential as well - should all that be free?

    People should pay for what they use, that seems the fairest way. Why should I pay for somebodyelse's ability to waste water by say washing the car with a hose every week (it's hardly an essential is it?).

    To give everybody things for Free means higher taxes. How would you like to be paying 50% of your income to help others?
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