Government sets out ambitious reform of the water industry
By Daniel Hunter
Plans to reform the water industry were published in Parliament today (Tuesday) as the Government seeks to slash red tape, drive innovation and open the market to new companies.
Under the proposals, which have been published for pre-legislative scrutiny, all businesses and public sector bodies in England will be able to switch their water and sewerage suppliers, allowing them to obtain more competitive prices, improve their efficiency and tender for services better suited to meet their individual needs.
Evidence suggests that opening up the water market and allowing businesses to switch supplier could deliver benefits to the economy of £2 billion over 30 years. In Scotland, after similar reforms were introduced, the public sector alone is set to save around £20 million over the next three years.
“This draft Bill will create a modern customer focused water industry and for the first time all businesses and other organisations will be able to shop around for their water and sewerage suppliers," Secretary of State for Environment, Caroline Spelman said.
“By slashing red tape we will also stimulate a market for new water resources and incentivise more water recycling.
“This will ensure that the water industry continues to provide an affordable and clean water supply which is essential for the nation’s economic growth while at the same time protecting the environment for future generations.”
Businesses, charities and public organisations with multiple sites will also be able to receive just one combined water and sewerage bill for all their offices and buildings across England and Scotland.
“This Bill is good for the customer, the economy and the environment. As well as, for the first time, giving choice to 1.2 million businesses and other organisations, the Bill is expected to benefit the economy by almost £2 billion," Regina Finn, Ofwat... continued on page two >