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Background Info

Currently the very poorest in society are being billed a cost for water and sewerage charges, regardless of ability to pay. This is driving individuals and families into a poverty lower than we could have foreseen and this is done regardless to existing debts, fuel poverty and other factors.

The current method of organising payment for water and sewerage uses councils as paid agents of Scottish Water. They have the power to instruct bailiffs to demand full payment, or to instruct officials at the Department of Work and Pensions to deduct payments direct from benefits. Consolidated water debt is sold to bailiff collectors which leads to additional charges on the person billed.

The current system is not in balance with social justice.

Figures are available for the overall debt in council areas for unpaid water charges. Water charges are a huge proportion of the income of those on benefits or low income, especially to those finding that choice is removed by compulsory deduction.

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