The Workers Union has urged water companies to ‘do better,’ after watchdog the Consumer Council for Water (CCW) said that millions of people are struggling to pay their water bills.
In a strongly-worded statement, a union spokesman stood up for the beleaguered families of working people by slamming wastefulness and profiteering in the multi-million pound industry:
‘The CCW has revealed that there are about 1.7 million people in ‘water poverty’ in this country. They define this as spending more than 5 percent of household income on water bills once other essential housing costs have been paid.
‘For those on low incomes, those on benefits and the recently redundant, any sudden demands to pay expensive utility bills can cause untold worry and financial hardship. Yes some companies have their own support schemes, but its a hotchpotch of initiatives that fail to deal with the fundamental cost to the end consumer.
‘We want to see water companies tackle inflated executive pay and deal with important issues such as water poverty and pollution in socially responsible way.’
Meanwhile, the news that the UK’s water quality has been hammered by the European Environment Agency (EEA) will provide little extra cheer for families looking to get away and enjoy the sunshine. Only 110 bathing sites were rated excellent by the agency – or 17.2 percent.
The results echo the findings of a recent investigation by the Guardian newspaper, that revealed there had had been more than 20,000 instances of sewage dumped in river systems by water companies in 2019.
The Workers Union on Water Poverty
Water is fundamental to human existence and yet like many of the things essential to our survival it has been commodified. It seems that the mere act of labelling something so precious a ‘resource’ brings out the worse in the human spirit and makes charging through the nose seem morally justifiable.
But the simple facts are that working people should not face a battle to afford something that they cannot live without. Neither should they run the gamut of raw sewage every time they want to enjoy our beach resorts and inland waterways.
Despite rumblings to the contrary, a little imagination and a splash of common decency will help go a long way to solving this problem.
We must make reduction and deferment schemes for eligible people available across the country – not just in certain post codes. This would help alleviate water poverty and banish the spectre of skipped meals and hungry stomachs for the thousands of people that need it most.
The Workers Union – fighting for social justice, fighting for you