Campaigners call on Government for urgent action on 'rain tax' dispute

Scout Association and Church of England put pressure on ministers

The Scout Association and the Church of England have urged environment minister Huw Irranca-Davies to "knock some heads together quickly" to resolve the long-running ‘rain tax' dispute.

Voluntary organisations discussed the matter for the first time with politicians and representatives from water regulator Ofwat and the water industry this week.

The Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Lawn Tennis Association have joined the campaign to stop water companies introducing a new method of charging.

Under the new system, customers are charged according to the amount of surface rainwater. Voluntary organisations, which used to receive large discounts under the old rateable value system, face bill increases of more than 1,000 per cent. It is feared many could be forced to close.

The Scouts want Ofwat to introduce a social tariff that entitles water companies to charge community organisations less.

Ofwat has said this would require primary legislation, but Stella Creasy, head of public affairs and campaigns at the Scouts, said it was disingenuous of the regulator to claim it had no social responsibilities.

A joint statement published yesterday by the Scouts, the Church of England and the Rugby Football Union said. "Ofwat brought in the rain tax; only Ofwat and ministers can sort out the problems this has created. We are looking to the minister to knock some heads together quickly on this or risk the financial future of our organisations."

Another meeting is expected to take place within a month, the Scouts said.


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