4 million can't pay water charges in Britain

CLAIMS FROM Minister John Spellar that water charges will not lead to further impoverishment of people were shown up as outright lies by the findings of a committee of MPs into the effect of water charges in England.

The report of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee says that water charges are so expensive 4 million households are unable to pay them.

Since the privatisation of the water service in Britain, prices have dramatically increased together with the profits of the private water companies.

In the four years after privatisation water charges had risen by 50%. The report also states that "their affordability has become a threat to public health" due to households being forced to ration water.

These new statistics follow the discovery of George and Gertrude Bates, both in their 80s, in south London in October dead in their flat after their water supply was cut off because they could not pay a bill. 13 weeks prior, they had their heating and cooking supplies disconnected because of an unpaid 140 bill.

Many more people are forced to ration water by having fewer baths and not flushing toilets.

Water charges and the privatisation of the service in Britain have been a nightmare for working class people.

Visit the site of the We Won't Pay Campaign

Anti water charges campaign

This article is from the January 2004 edition of Socialist Voice. Back issues are available here.