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Miliband pledges new social tariffs in water industry

Ed Miliband has pledged to introduce new social tariffs in the water industry in a bid to drive down living costs.

Speaking in Battersea, Mr Miliband attacked the Government on the issue of the cost of living crisis and vowed to "stand up for markets that work for working people".

Ed Miliband addresses an audience at Battersea power station this morning.

Mr Miliband said the water industry should be "scrutinised to make sure it is working properly", during an interview with the Evening Standard last week.

The water industry is the latest sector to be scrutinised by the Labour leader after he promised to freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 if his party won the next general election.

Labour: 'Something really wrong' with energy market

"Something has gone really wrong" in the UK energy market and Parliament has to "tackle that", the shadow energy secretary told Daybreak.

Labour's Caroline Flint said a 46% drop in the wholesale price which was not passed onto customers when her party were in charge, but warned bills were getting worse under the coalition government.

"Prices are going up three times as fast under this Government than they were under us and we need to tackle that."


Environment Secretary: Affordable water bills 'crucial'

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has told water firms it is "crucial" that water bills are kept affordable for "hardworking people".

We know that household budgets are under pressure, and keeping water bills affordable is a crucial way we can help hardworking people.

That is why we are pressing hard to make sure customers get a fair deal, by encouraging water companies to look closely at any price increases, introduce social tariffs for vulnerable customers and crack down on bad debt.

– Environment Secretary Owen Paterson

Water firms urged to curb prices by Government

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has called on water companies to "look closely" at whether price increases are necessary and introduce special tariffs for hard-pressed households.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has urged water companies to "look closely" at whether price increases are necessary Credit: PA

In a letter to suppliers, Mr Paterson said the firms should recognise the financial strain people are under.

The intervention came ahead of an Ofwat ruling expected later this week on an application from Thames Water to increase bills by £29 in 2014-15.

The regulator is expected to reject the application and has questioned the profits being made by firms.

It suggested its next Price Review could ease the upward pressure on bills by up to £750 million after 2015.

'No compulsory water meters', says Government

The Government said a Daily Telegraph report that thousands of homes would be made to install water meters was untrue.

Defra released the following statement:

There is no requirement for water companies to introduce compulsory water meters as a result of the report that has just been published.

In fact, the number of water companies labelled as seriously water stressed was reduced. Metering is just one of many ways water companies look at to manage water resources in their area.

The Government is doing more than ever before to tackle water prices, securing a £50 rebate off the exceptionally high bills of those in the South West, bringing in social tariffs for the first time and, through our Water Bill, bringing in competition for all non-household users.

– Defra spokesperson

Report: Bills to rise under compulsory water meter plans

Millions of families in Britain could face higher bills under new government plans to install compulsory water meters in homes, the Daily Telegraph has claimed.

The Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson MP, this week approved plans to make water companies across a third of the UK fit meters and bill customers for usage.

Ministers have warned that reservoirs are at risk of running dry due to water shortages.