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  • by Karma Loveday

Think tank calls for end to social tariff postcode lottery

Cross party think tank, the Social Market Foundation, has recommended water companies – along with energy, broadband, insurance and public transport service providers – are made to offer social tariffs to vulnerable customers in a consistent manner, to ensure all eligible consumers can benefit.

In Bare necessities, a report commissioned by Citizens Advice, the SMF called on the Government to set out mandatory, enforceable requirements that specify minimum standards for social tariff provision as part of a series of short-term measures that begin to make social tariffs fairer for all. In the long-term, the report argued that the ideal design of social tariffs would cap bills as a proportion of income, be automatically applied, and be funded by the public purse.

According to the SMF, the Labour Party is expected to put plans for an industry-wide social tariff for low income families in broadband before its Party conference next week, following on from its National Policy Forum. It argues: “Policymakers seeking to ease the burden on households should be considering improving social tariffs across a wider range of essentials.”

The recommendation is highly relevant to water this week, as water companies unveil proposed price hikes for 2025-30.


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