A SENIOR Test Valley Lib Dem has criticised recent proposals by Southern Water to increase household water bills.

The company has said that bills will rise by £262 a year by 2030, the largest increase in the country. The announcement comes days after regulator OFWAT ordered Southern Water to pay £43m to customers for under-performance.

Geoff Cooper, Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Romsey and Southampton North, said: “This is an extra blow at a time when many households are really struggling.  OFWAT, has warned that customers should only pay for ‘new investment and not to put right past failings.’

“What we are seeing now is the result of years of putting shareholders first and customers last. We are witnessing the long-term effects of privatisation, coupled with poor regulation”.

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He continued: “The people of Romsey and Southampton North have had enough. Some of our residents have experienced loss of water supply, our beautiful rivers and waterways are repeatedly contaminated with raw sewage, and these price hikes simply add insult to injury.

“The government has consistently failed to hold water companies to account, and our own MP voted to allow them to keep dumping untreated, raw sewage into our rivers in October 2021.

“Whilst I welcome the investment, customers must not be forced to pay for Southern Water’s past failings or this government’s lack of action”.