Revise 'rain tax' or reform Ofwat, Scout Association tells MPs

Charity's first mass lobby of Parliament focuses on water regulator's role

Rain tax lobby: Brian Moore and cub scouts
Rain tax lobby: Brian Moore and cub scouts

The Scout Association will call on MPs to reform Ofwat unless the regulator revises its guidance on water charging in the next two weeks.

Stella Creasy, head of campaigns at the association, issued the ultimatum after the charity's first mass lobby of Parliament yesterday.

Dozens of MPs, representatives from community groups and the church and former England rugby union international Brian Moore joined 100 cub scouts in Westminster for the protest.

They demanded Ofwat rewrite 2003 guidance that recommends water companies charge for surface water drainage rather than using the rateable value.

It has led to water bills for voluntary organisations increasing by up to 1,400 per cent. The association estimates the total cost of the new pricing structure to not-for-profit organisations, including scout groups, churches and sports clubs, will be £100m a year.

Creasy said: "Our message is clear: we can't afford these bills. So we want Ofwat to recognise its social duties to society - or MPs to recognise that Ofwat isn't fit for purpose as a regulator and cut it instead."

She claimed enough MPs supported the Stop the Rain Tax campaign to make the association's threat serious.

Moore said: "It is scandalous that Ofwat condones a system of charging that treats these groups in the same way as petrol stations, supermarkets and other large and hugely profitable businesses."

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