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Dr Carolyn Snell Water poverty in England and Wales Dr Carolyn Snell Professor Jonathan Bradshaw.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Carolyn Snell Water poverty in England and Wales Dr Carolyn Snell Professor Jonathan Bradshaw."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Carolyn Snell Water poverty in England and Wales Dr Carolyn Snell Professor Jonathan Bradshaw

2 Dr Carolyn Snell Defining water poverty The accepted definition is: Where a household spends more than 3% of its net income on water and sewerage

3 Dr Carolyn Snell Background: why study water poverty in England and Wales? Cost Water poverty is a growing problem as a result of increasing water prices Increases in the level of water prices coincide with increasing fuel charges and food prices Water charges are relatively low compared to other bills, but are inelastic Variation Regional variation in water bills - water companies hold regional monopolies Regional variation in bills creates a unique difficulty in arriving at a national policy solution Dr Carolyn Snell

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5 Policy Before 1999 it was not illegal to disconnect water supplies, linked to an increase in dysentery and hepatitis in the early 1990s The nature of water poverty as a policy problem has changed significantly since 1999, when it became illegal to disconnect household properties. Since 1999 the number of households falling into arrears has increased Social Support WaterSure – the only social tariff - has a very low take-up and its eligibility criteria mean that it is limited to a small sub-section of the customer base. Dr Carolyn Snell Background: why study water poverty in England and Wales?

6 Dr Carolyn Snell Background to the research Study funded by the Consumer Council for Water (CC Water) between May 2008-April 2009 to investigate two main research questions: 1. What are the characteristics of households in water poverty in England and Wales? 2. Can a passport benefit be identified?

7 Dr Carolyn Snell Methods: quantitative analysis of water poverty in England and Wales Data from the FRS (2006-7) was used to analyse the socio- economic characteristics of those at risk of water poverty in England and Wales The main limitation of this approach was that water company regions differed from the regions used in the FRS

8 Dr Carolyn Snell Headline findings 1. Analysis found that 14.6 per cent of the population were in water poverty under the current definition 2.The water poverty rate is double the average for: single pensioners the bottom income quintile workless households households on means tested benefits 3. There are substantial differences across the FRS regions

9 Dr Carolyn Snell What are the characteristics of households in water poverty in England and Wales: Government Office Region (not water company region) Region % spending more than 3% water Composition of those spending more than 3% on water Composition of the sample North East NW/Mersey York/Humber East Midlands West Midlands East London South East South West Wales Total

10 Dr Carolyn Snell What are the characteristics of households in water poverty in England and Wales: Household type Family type Average £ per week on water % spending more than 3% water Composition of those spending more than 3% on water Composition of the sample Single Couple C C C C LP LP LP Pensioner single Pensioner couple Multi-unit

11 Dr Carolyn Snell What are the characteristics of households in water poverty in England and Wales: Household income & employment 1.Of those in the lowest income quintile, 54.9 per cent are in water poverty. 2.Of all those in water poverty, 71.3 per cent are in the lowest income quintile. 3.Of households with no workers, 28.5 per cent are in water poverty. 4.Amongst all those defined as water poor, 71.6 per cent are households with no workers.

12 Dr Carolyn Snell What are the characteristics of households in water poverty in England and Wales: Benefit receipt Tax/ benefit class % spending more than 3% water Composition of those spending more than 3% on water Composition of the sample IS or JSA HB or CTB PC PC or HB or CTB CTC or WTC CTC & at risk of poverty Any of the above IB or DLA Any of the above None of the above

13 Dr Carolyn Snell Can a passport benefit be identified? % spending over 3% of on water % of total water poor Out of work households Pensioner single on PC Pensioner couple on PC Single not working 16 hours, on IS/JSA, Single not working 16 hours, on IS/JSA, Couple neither working 16 hours, on IS/JSA Lone parent + 1, not working 16 hours, on IS/JSA Lone parent + 2, not working 16 hours, on IS/JSA Lone parent + 3, not working 16 hours, on IS/JSA Lone parent + 4, not working 16 hours, on IS/JSA Couple +1, neither working 16 hours, on IS/JSA Couple +2, neither working 16 hours, on IS/JSA Couple +3, neither working 16 hours, on IS/JSA Couple +4, neither working 16 hours, on IS/JSA Total In work households Working tax credit recipients

14 Dr Carolyn Snell Can a passport benefit be identified? 1. A scheme targeting out of work households in water poverty will help up to 24.2 per cent of the water poor 2.A scheme based on working water poor could help up to 6.5 per cent of water poor households 3.A benefits focused solution will still not overcome the regional variations

15 Dr Carolyn Snell Conclusions Water poverty is suffered by a range of households in very different circumstances A benefits focused policy response is problematic because of the relatively small proportions of the water poor that would be helped The regional variation in charges creates a unique difficulty in arriving at a national policy solution This is a difficult policy problem because:


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