Community groups to avoid 'rain tax'

The Government acted last night to prevent churches and community groups being hit by a so-called "rain tax", which forced up some water bills by as much as 1,300 per cent.

Junior environment Minister Huw Irranca-Davies assured MPs that new guidance would be issued to stop water companies issuing unaffordable demands.

The move comes after mounting anger about the effect of increased surface water charges on community groups like scouts.

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In a report stage debate on the Flood and Water Management Bill, Mr Irranca-Davies said MPs would want to be confident that community groups did not face “unaffordable bills” as a result of new surface drainage charges.

He said there was a clear role for the regulator, Ofwat, in making sure this was the case.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn would issue new guidance to the water companies.