City of Durham MP Mary Foy, yesterday wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask him to take action over the impact of higher water bills during the coronavirus crisis. The letter was signed by a further 52 MPs from across the country.
In the letter, Mary and her fellow MPs expressed concern for those on water meters in particular, claiming that it is likely that water usage will increase significantly during the lockdown, due to the public following public health guidance on COVID-19 and, most importantly, people spending more time in the home, whether working from home or self-isolating.
In addition, many people have been made unemployed, or had their work suspended. This means that the average water usage per household is almost certain to rise. This is occurring at a time when many are feeling the economic impact of social distancing measures, reduced hours, inadequate sick pay or unemployment.
The MPs are asking the Prime Minister to take action to ensure that those affected are able to access clean, and have made three specific requests:
- A ban on all water disconnections for the duration of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
- A water bill holiday for all those who need it for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
- Water bills for this period to be based on the equivalent months of the previous year, to account for the increased water usage during the crisis.
“People are worried enough by the coronavirus itself, as well as uncertainty over their jobs, the changes to routine and now, of course, the lockdown and I wanted to ask the Prime Minister to take another worry out of the equation: the concern about higher water bills, purely for doing what the Government advises.
Obviously, those who will be hit hardest by this will be those on water meters – as they are likely to see a jump in their bills compared to last year. So, we are asking the Government to base the bills during the lockdown period on last years, so no one is hit by a higher water bill because of the crisis.
I was delighted that so many of my colleagues in the House of Commons joined me in signing the letter and requesting that the Government do the right thing at this time of need, and you can read the full letter below.”