Plans to increase water bills in Horsham by nine per cent labelled 'disgraceful'
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But Horsham Liberal Democrats are urging Southern Water to ditch its proposals. LibDem parliamentary candidate for Horsham John Milne said: “People in Horsham should not have to endure this disgraceful price hike.
"During a cost of living crisis, it is a slap in the face to all those in our community who now have to pay more to water companies who have for years been pumping filthy sewage into our rivers and streams.
“This insulting price hike should be scrapped immediately. There should be no price rises until water firms scrap insulting overseas dividends and exec bonuses.”
He added: “Southern Water should be digging into their own pockets for once and not force these additional costs onto people in Horsham during a cost of living crisis.
“There should be an immediate end to sky-high bonuses and payments going to overseas investors. Money that should instead be going straight on fixing our
But Southern Water says it has paid no dividends to external shareholders since 2017 and “every penny of profit has gone back into improving our assets and maintaining our network.”
A spokesperson added: “Our chief executive Lawrence Gosden has waived his bonus since his appointment on 1 July 2022.
“Our main shareholder has put more than £1.5 billion into the business since 2021 which is helping us invest more than £1,500 per customer between 2020 and 2025.”
Southern Water maintains that the increase is in response to customer demand to go further and faster with service improvements and investment in new infrastructure.
The spokesperson added: “This means customers who pay for water and wastewater services can expect a 9 per cent rise, from £1.20 per day (£439 per year) to £1.31 per day (£479 per year). Meanwhile, water only bills will go up by 7.7per cent and waste only by 10 per cent.
“The two key drivers are the ongoing pressures of inflation and its impact on increased costs for energy, fuel and raw materials, and the feedback we have had from our communities and stakeholders about the need to invest more heavily in our network, so we provide the service our customers and environment deserve.”
Katy Taylor, Southern Water’s chief customer officer, added: “We know household budgets remain under considerable pressure, and that times continue to be hard for many families, so any move to increase charges is never taken lightly.”