South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has revealed that the SNP Scottish Government’s plan to cut the 25% single occupancy water discount will affect almost 20,000 people in the Scottish Borders.
Analysis by the Scottish Labour Party shows that 19,274 people living in the Scottish Borders would be hit by the planned change. Many of those worst hit would include pensioners and single mothers who are already struggling.
If the discount were to be scrapped altogether it would mean that single occupant households on Council Tax Band D in the Scottish Borders would see their water charges sore from £328.05 to £437.40, an increase of over £100.
A consultation on the proposals by the SNP Government closed on 28 September 2018 and Ministers are now considering the responses.
Colin Smyth has signed a motion put forward to the Scottish Parliament against the proposal.
Colin Smyth MSP said, “The proposed plan to cut the single occupancy discount for water charges would see almost 20,000 people, living alone in the Borders being forced to pay an extra £100 a year for water charges. Many people who live alone are elderly or single parents and can be at greater risk of poverty”.
“For the overwhelming majority, the single persons discount is worth 25 per cent of the total bill. That’s a lot of money that the SNP Government are proposing to take away from single people, many of them pensioners, on fixed incomes”.
“Hiking up the water charges for people living alone by over £100 would be an attack on single, older people – who may be living alone because they are widowed – and on single parents who struggle to manage bringing up children on one income”.
“A lot of people will be worried that if the SNP Government press ahead with plans to scrap the single person’s discount for water charges, then they will do the same for Council Tax”.
“The SNP Government should not be penalising people for living alone and should take this proposed change off the table immediately to protect the incomes of single occupant households across the Borders”.