The Walker Review into Charging

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2009 Water & Environment Service Group Conference
4 March 2009

Conference welcomes this review into the various options for the charging of water services. The UNISON report ‘Fair and Affordable Water’ made a strong case for the replacement of the existing system with a fairer, affordable more sustainable system for the future.

Conference endorses UNISON’s submission to the Walker Review and its emphasis on the introduction of a new system that while based on metering also ensures that vulnerable groups and those with special needs are not worse off as a result. These aims would be best assured by the introduction of rising block tariffs along with targeted social benefits in support of families with children and those with special needs.

Conference also notes that the existing price regime includes the full environmental improvement costs being added to water charges. This leads to a distortion in customer bills where for example customers in the South West pay considerably more for their water services than customers in Greater London.

Conference believes that a fairer system of charging will lead to a more stable financial income for companies which will support the development of a skilled and professional workforce, properly equipped to face the future.

Conference therefore instructs the Executive to:

i)Continue campaigning for a fairer more sustainable system of water charges;

ii)Urges the Executive to monitor the findings of the Walker Review and to respond accordingly;

iii)Work with branches to promote UNISON’s approach to a fairer system of water charging with companies locally and with other relevant locally based organisations.