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Concerns about the damage that massively high water charges for voluntary organisations could cause were raised today (Thursday) in the Commons by Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff.

During Environment questions, the MP raised the case of the 1st Droitwich Spa scout group. The group’s treasurer, David Lockett, had written to Peter, who yesterday passed the concerns on to both the water regulator, Ofwat and the water company, Severn Trent.

Today in the Commons he challenged ministers to help voluntary organisations like the scouts, saying

“Only yesterday, I passed to Ofwat a letter from the treasurer of the 1st Droitwich Spa scout group expressing concern about a likely increase in its water charges from £50 to £1,000 because of run-off charges. That will force the group to choose between a much-needed new roof for the scout hut or an increase in subs for the 60 beavers, cubs and scouts, which they could ill afford. What comfort can I give the 1st Droitwich Spa scout group?”

The minister, Huw Irranca-Davies, replied,

“Give it the comfort that this Minister has met both the regulator and United Utilities [another water company facing similar issues] and will continue to put on the pressure. It is right that the dialogue between the independent economic regulator and the water companies is the way they define how they will take their regime forward. I am clear that there should not be disproportionate impacts on groups such as community hall groups, scout associations, churches and so on. The great thing is that United Utilities has applied a moratorium in order to examine that very issue in its area. I am looking forward to learning the outcome of that shortly, because I hope that it will guide the way forward for future decisions.”

Commenting, Peter said,

“I know many voluntary organisations, including churches, parish hall committees and other youth groups have similar fears. It is vitally important that we help volunteers to serve their communities – these massive water charges could undermine their important work.”

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