Water protection extended to more vulnerable groups
Nursing homes, emergency services, children's homes and children's day care centres are some of the extra groups proposed to be given protection against water disconnection.
Amendments to the Water Industry Bill would offer extended protection notably in the fields of medical care, personal care and education.
The Water Industry Bill proposes to extend protection against disconnection to nursing homes and mental nursing homes, GPs’ and dentists surgeries, ambulance services, police forces and fire brigades, children’s and residential care homes, children’s day-care centres, prisons, remand centres, young offences institutions and further and higher education premises.
“Our main focus is to protect household customers so that vulnerable families and individuals do not face the possibility of being deprived of water – which is harmful to their own well-being and can be damaging to public health,” said environment minister Michael Meacher.
“However, other premises fully deserve extra protection from disconnection and from the use of limiting devices to enforce payment. Depriving such premises of their water supply could be harmful to particularly vulnerable groups of concern to society as a whole or to essential services.
“We don’t want to hinder the operations of water companies more than is necessary to meet the key welfare concerns which have been raised. Water companies will, therefore, still have the ability to disconnect the vast majority of non-household premises for failure to pay bills. I do not therefore expect that there will be any adverse impact on water companies’ income as a result of these measures.”