Rhoda calls on Scottish water to return some of the cash reserves they have.

Water supply line pipes being made ready at GressWater supply line pipes being made ready at Gress
Water supply line pipes being made ready at Gress
A Highlands and Islands MSP has called on Scottish Water to make a one-off £100 rebate to its customers in the Western isles to “tackle the cost of living crisis caused by the pandemic”.

Labour's Rhoda Grant MSP called for the rebate following claims by Scottish Labour’s interim leader, Jackie Baillie, that Scottish Water had a “cash stash” worth “over half a billion pounds”, and that despite its cash reserves the company planned an “inflation busting” hike in water prices.

Ms Grant said that the company should use what she defined as the company’s “excess cash” to deliver a rebate to its customers in the isles “12,783 households”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: “It is time the hard-pressed families of Na h-Eileanan Siar got money back from this obscene cash stash.

New supply line being built by Scottish WaterNew supply line being built by Scottish Water
New supply line being built by Scottish Water

“It is clear that water customers across Na h-Eileanan Siar have been overcharged for years and they need the money in their household budgets at this time, not sitting unused in Scottish Water’s bank vaults.

“Not only can a water rebate be easily afforded from the cash Scottish Water has stashed away, it means that any planned above-inflation water charge increases can be dropped for a number of years to come.

“This is the sort of good news that households across Na h-Eileanan Siar need after a hard winter”, the MSP concluded.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In a statement in response to Rhoda Grant’s call, a spokesperson for Scottish Water said that water charges are set via a framework laid down by its independent regulator and approved by the Scottish Government.

At the end of January, Scottish Water announced that annual household water and waste water charges will increase by an average of 0.9 per-cent from April, and said that over 400,000 customers would be paying less.

The company said that help available under the Water Charges Reduction Scheme is to be increased to 35 per cent and extended to 290,000 households that receive the single person Council Tax discount.

Customers who pay full charge levels will see their charges increase by 2.5% – around £10 per year for a Band C household.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Douglas Millican, Scottish Water Chief Executive, said: “Events of the last year have merely served to underline the role Scottish Water plays in protecting the health and hygiene of Scotland.

“The combined challenges of ageing assets and climate change, as well as the need to drive down our carbon emissions, mean we have no option other than to invest for the future.

“We are very aware of the economic conditions and the pressure on household finances and that is why we have restricted charge increases to a maximum of 2.5 per cent.”

Asked whether a rebate could undermine proposed infrastructure projects across the islands, the company’s spokesperson said: “We do have substantial investment, both underway and planned for the future across the Western Isles, including a comprehensive renewal of the water supply and infrastructure system that serves customers between Back and Tolsta, and a project to improve the security of supply for customers served by Ness Water Treatment Works – among many other projects, both large and small.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.