SNP U-turn on water charges

Water victory for Jackie Baillie MSP 

Labour’s Jackie Baillie and cool, clear water, which will still come with a discount for single people, flowing down from the Spardie Linn at Strowans Well in Dumbarton. Picture by Jim Crosthwaite

By Lizzie Healey

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie has welcomed the SNP U-turn on removing water discounts from half a million single persons households in Scotland.

After months of dodging questions and ignoring key stakeholder groups, the Scottish Government has today confirmed that they are no longer planning to remove the single person water discount from over half a million Scots.

Cunningham Roseanna

Roseanna Cunningham, left, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, answered a government initiated question in which she stated that “I can confirm that I have concluded that the single person discount should not be amended for the period 2021-27.”

This U-turn comes after months of questioning and lobbying from Dumbarton and Lomond MSP Jackie Baillie who has relentlessly pursued the issue with written questions, Freedom of Information requests, a members debate, letters to ministers and questions in the chamber, one of which was directly to the First Minister.

The MSP, who was instrumental in keeping the water discount flowing, said: “I am delighted by today’s announcement but this SNP government should never have brought forward this proposal in the first place.

“These plans that, until today, Nicola Sturgeon was not willing to rule out, would have seen over half a million Scots worse off. Many of these Scots are pensioners on low and fixed incomes and the removal of the water discount would have seen them worse off.

“In recent weeks, I have been contacted by single parents and pensioners living alone fearing for how they were going to be able to make ends meet if the water discount was removed.

“The worry that these ill-advised plans have caused to hundreds of thousands of Scots warrants an apology from Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. If it hadn’t been for our persistence in parliament in challenging these proposals, the SNP would have made half a million people worse off. I am glad we have stopped them in their tracks.”

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