Paying for water is investing in local economy

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From: Richard Flint, Chief Executive, Yorkshire Water.

THE water industry regulator, Ofwat, has recently announced that water bills are set to rise again in April this year. In Yorkshire this will equate to an extra £1.75 a month (Yorkshire Post, February 1).

It’s important to stress that most of this year’s price increase is down to inflation. The remainder of the increase will be used to fund our ongoing investment in Yorkshire, which in 2012/13 will be £376m.

This investment will deliver huge benefits, from cleaner rivers and bathing waters and more robust and reliable drinking water supplies, through to a reduction in the number of homes and businesses affected by flooding from sewers.

But I also want to draw people’s attention to the less obvious, economic benefits of our investment – for every £1 we invest, the knock-on effect in the wider Yorkshire economy is almost double that. For example, we directly employ more than 2,800 people, with approximately £60m of their disposable income being reinvested in Yorkshire each year.

Last year alone we boosted the local jobs market by recruiting more than 500 employees and we also source products and services from more than 1,000 Yorkshire-based suppliers, which in turn creates further employment and benefits for the region.

However, at the same time, we’re acutely aware that some customers are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

Yorkshire Water runs a number of its own initiatives to help customers who find themselves in debt. Our website is also packed full of water, energy and cost-saving tips to help customers.

At £361, the average water and sewerage bill in Yorkshire remains £15 below the national average of £376 and we will continue to work hard to maintain this position.