Guest Blog from Navin Shah (Labour), London Assembly member for Brent and Harrow
After months of campaigning, the water regulator Ofwat has announced it will order Thames Water to slash Londoners’ bills by 5% over the next 5 years.
For the many Londoners struggling to cope with years of stagnating wages and rising living costs that announcement will be a great relief. Water isn’t one of those bills you can avoid, nor do we have a choice about our supplier. For too long water companies have had customers over a barrel – there was nowhere to turn when prices rose.
The 5% reduction will, on average, mean a £17 cut to bills in Brent and Harrow. Whilst that’s encouraging, water companies are still allowed to increase their overall prices with inflation. That will mean people could quite quickly end up paying more.
The Mayor of London has taken his eye off the ball in not taking on the utility companies that are squeezing Londoners’ pockets, we on the Assembly will continue to be vigilant to ensure Londoners get their very best value from their water and energy bills.
Thames Water was one of the only water companies in the country to propose price rises, in part it said to fund the new Thames Tideway Tunnel. Whilst the so called super-sewer is important, Ofwat rightly recognised that the project cannot be funded by squeezing yet more out of Londoners' pockets – something I totally endorse.