Scout Association welcomes 'rain tax' legislation in Queen's Speech

Call for swift action on water charges to charities, churches and voluntary groups

The Scout Association has welcomed the announcement of legislation in yesterday's Queen's Speech that could spare thousands of churches, charities and sports clubs from massive water bill rises.

The speech, which outlined the Government's legislative plans for the new parliamentary session, said water companies would be allowed to operate concessionary schemes relating to surface water drainage for community groups.

Water companies had been introducing new pricing structures, based on 2003 guidance from regulator Ofwat, that allowed them to charge according to how much water drained from buildings.

For voluntary organisations with buildings, this new method of charging – dubbed the ‘rain tax' – was leading to water bill increases of up to 1,000 per cent.

The Scout Association, which lobbied against the rain tax, said it planned to pressure MPs to pass the legislation before the next general election.

Stella Creasy, head of public affairs and campaigns at the Scout Association, said the proposed legislation was "vital if we are to protect the future of churches, sports clubs and Scout groups across England and Wales.

"All of us who are affected will be devastated if these proposals are not given the parliamentary time they need to become law."

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