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COSLA RAISES WATER CONCERNS AT MINISTERIAL MEETING

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Following a meeting with environment minister Ross Finnie, Cosla has expressed its grave concerns for the paying pu...
Following a meeting with environment minister Ross Finnie, Cosla has expressed its grave concerns for the paying public who are going

to be hit with large increases in water and sewerage charges.

Cosla pointed out to the minister that their definition of a harmonisation

of water charges did not mean everyone's bill being raised to the highest

level.

The executive's approach means that households in the East and West of

Scotland are facing increases of up to 29 per cent.

At yesterday's meeting Cosla's finance spokesperson John Pentland raised a

number of fundamental concerns that Cosla has in relation to water and

sewerage charges.

Describing the executive's approach as insensitive, cllr Pentland

explains: 'Cosla has major concerns about the executive's way forward on

water and sewerage charges.

'Our concerns relate to a number of issues. Firstly our definition of

harmonisation is not putting up bills to the highest possible level.

'Secondly, Cosla has long advocated for a water rebate scheme that benefits

those in most need of help and not something that merely pays lip service to

the problem. The present scheme does not benefit those in low-income

households.

'Yesterday saw the minister announce a massive increase in water charges

over the next few years. Cosla has major concerns that due to the

inadequate relief arrangements this will seriously impact on those people on

low incomes.

He continued: 'Cosla wants to see people who are on lower incomes, living

in properties in the lower council tax bands benefiting from a more

effective relief system.'

'Our third major concern is the issue about the future of billing and

collection of water and sewerage charges this needs early discussion and

clarification.

Cllr Pentland concluded: 'I clearly outlined Cosla's concerns to the

Minister and as a result of these concerns both sides have agreed to set up

a working group to consider short and long term issues.'

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