Ofwat 'failing in its duties', claims Scout Association

Water regulator's revised price limits offer no special rates for voluntary organisations

Ofwat is not doing enough to limit the prices paid by voluntary organisations for water, according to the Scout Association.

The regulator announced revised price limits for water providers yesterday. The association said that despite Ofwat's claim that its new policies would guarantee "a safe, reliable water supply at a reasonable cost", scout groups and other voluntary organisations such as churches would still face much larger bills than in the past.

It said Ofwat had "failed in its duty as a regulator". The new limits, it argued, would do little to reduce prices, which had risen by more than 1,000 per cent since Ofwat issued guidance in 2003 that recommended companies charge customers according to the amount of rainwater that drains into sewers rather than on properties' rateable values.

"For Ofwat to claim that it is holding bills down for customers will come as a shock to scout groups around the country whose bills have soared thanks to Ofwat's policies," said Stella Creasy, head of public affairs and campaigns for the association.

Earlier this week, the Scout Association called on MPs to reform Ofwat unless the regulator revised its guidance to create more reasonable pricing structures for voluntary organisations.

An Ofwat spokeswoman said: "We encourage water companies to act responsibly in protecting customers from sewer flooding. But only the Government can decide whether any group of customers does not have to pay these charges. Only it can change the law."

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