THE LIB Dem Parliamentary spokesperson for Romsey has called for a water bill price rise to be scrapped.

This comes as new figures from Water UK, which forecast water bill price changes, show that Hampshire water bills are expected to rise by almost 12 per cent for 2024/25.

This means Test Valley residents will have to pay an extra £51 per year.

Hampshire Chronicle: Geoff Cooper by the river TestGeoff Cooper by the river Test (Image: Contributed)

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Geoff Cooper has criticised this, saying: “Local people should not have to endure this disgraceful price hike. During a cost-of-living crisis, it is a slap in the face to all those in our community who now have to pay more to water companies who have for years been pumping filthy sewage into our rivers.

“This insulting price hike should be scrapped immediately. There should be no price rises until water firms scrap insulting overseas dividends and executive bonuses.

“What is even more scandalous is that Conservative ministers have just stood aside and let water companies walk all over their customers. Southern Water should be digging into its own pockets for once and not force these additional costs onto people during a cost-of-living crisis.

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“There should be an immediate end to sky-high bonuses and payments going to overseas investors. Money that should instead be spent on fixing our crumbling infrastructure. Customers should not be expected to pick up the tab for decades of underinvestment by Southern Water.

“Locally we have had recent cases where Southern Water planned to pump sewage directly into the River Test at Longparish and Chilbolton. Only strong local pressure forced them to abandon their plans and continue using trucks to relieve the overstretched and creaking sewer infrastructure.

“With the changes we are seeing in our weather, it is obvious that the money needs to be spent on improving infrastructure so that these problems do not recur.”