When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
MP hits out over water bills charge
9:30am Saturday 27th October 2012 in News
OXFORD East MP Andrew Smith has hit out at plans to make Thames Water customers in Oxfordshire pay an £80 hike in their bills to pay for a “super sewer” in London.
The levy will be introduced in 2015 to fund the Thames Tideway Tunnel designed to stop millions of tonnes of Londoners’ untreated sewage flowing straight into the river’s tidal estuary.
Labour MP Mr Smith said: “It’s very unfair that, outside London, only Thames Water customers are being forced to pay for this.
“The tunnel is certainly necessary to stop raw sewage going into the Thames in London, and Thames Water are pointing to the environmental, tourism and business benefits.
“As those benefits materialise in London should pay for it. If London can’t afford to pay for it, then the cost should be spread across UK taxpayers, not just loaded onto Thames Water customers, especially those outside the capital. It is going to be a struggle for a lot of people to find £80 extra.”
Water firm spokesman Simon Evans said: “Customers outside London have seen significant improvements from investment in sewage treatment locally, while paying the lowest bills in the country for most of the past 20 years.
“It is only fair that the costs of our investment are spread evenly across our customers.”