Services that are essential for life, such as water and sewerage, should be affordable for all consumers. CAS' latest research report takes a closer look at characteristics that may indicate whether or not a household will struggle to pay for water and sewerage charges. It also provides an analysis of various proxies that could be used to determine affordability, and at how additional financial support could be targeted towards households that need it most.
The report found that:
- Income is the most accurate indicator of whether or not a household is likely to find water and sewerage charges affordable.
- 12% of households in Scotland spend more than 3% of their weekly income on their water and sewerage charges although not all receive additional financial support through available affordability mechanisms.
- The current proxy used to provide financial relief, based on households being in receipt of Council Tax Reduction, is the most effective one that exists however, difficulties around more closely linking systems and data sets means that some households in need of additional support do not receive it.
- In the longer term, further research is necessary to identify how support could be more effectively targeted to all households that may struggle to pay.