Saturday 19 January 2013


The Scotsman tells us today that: "Families face a “real and painful” squeeze in their household budgets after a 2.8% rise in water charges announced yesterday."

It turns out that, in fact, that the rise is a relatively small one, with Band D (a middle band) households experiencing a rise of an average of £11 a year.

It also emerges that this rise of 2.7% (under inflation) is the first one for four years. At less than a pound a month; a sum of around 20p a week (over four  years), this is not bad. 

But of course, water is a commodity that is in the hands of the Scottish Government and blame for any rise can be laid firmly at the door of the SNP (cue maniacal laughter!). 

So clearly the Scotsman wants to make the most of the story so they point out that the executive of Scottish Water are "among the" highest paid in the public sector, which doesn't really mean anything.

Richard erm Baker, the Labour spokesperson on infrastructure said: “Scottish families will be dismayed by this increase which comes on the heels of gas and electricity price rises, making it even more difficult for hard-working families to make ends meet."

Richard, get a bloody grip. It's 20p a week for the middle band. Poor people won't even pay that!!! Incidentlly, it also makes it difficult for pensioners, and people who have been put out of work, students and, I suppose, lazy working families.
He went on: “There is a strong argument that this increase has come in response to the SNP cutting the budget for Scottish Water. Each small increase in costs combine to create a real and painful squeeze for families which makes for a very unhappy start to 2013 for tens of thousands of Scots.”
I really don't want to downplay it, Dick (I can call you dick, can't I? It's just that the name suits you so well) but I have to say I am FAR more concerned about the increase in gas and electricity, food and transport costs than I am in a 20p increase per week in water. At least I can still use as much or as little as I want for that money.
Of course the Tory spokesman complained that although the increase wasn't as much as the privatised companies in England, it had to be remembered that this increase came on top of a significant payment from the Scottish Government. Not enough subsidy, too much subsidy... Can't please the unionists, can you?
It was interesting to see that a correspondent on the Scotsman, posted the following::
 Headline in October 11th, 2012, edition of BBC News England:
"Thames Water Bills To Rise To Pay For Thames Super Sewer."

"Thames Water customers have been warned that their bills are likely to rise by as much £80 a year to help pay for a £4.1 billion super sewer in London."

(Source: BBC News England website)
So, it could be worse. We could be living in England.


  1. tris

    so the snp turn the screw on the Scottish public
    with there cuts and yet allow a massive increase in water charges.
    Thank god for the Scotsman holding up the guilty snp to public ignominy.

    Here that right Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon
    were found committing an 'ACT together.

    Yeah Laurel and Hardy

  2. tris

    blame for any rise can be laid firmly at the door of the SNP

    (cue maniacal laughter!)



  3. "The Scotsman reaches for the bottom"....phew, thought we were back in a Glasgow motor there ;)

  4. LOL Niko...

    Laurel and Hardy is quite good... Little and Large too!!

    I suspect we will have a few laughs before the dear old thing finally runs out of money and then it will probably be bought by D C Thomson and become a Tory paper!

  5. The bottom Monty.... not Your bottom.

    Have no fear...

    As I've said elsewhere about him, I'm much more interested in what they are doing with the money than whose pants they are in.

  6. As someone who will be avoiding going anywhere near Linn Park, I would like to point out that poor people will be be paying this increased charge as even the maximum council tax rebate doesn't cover water charges which must be paid in full. I don't blame the SNP however as the increase would be a damn sight more if water was privatised and the SNP didn't restrict working age benefit increases to 1% despite soaring prices of essentials.

  7. Of course no one likes a price rise, Panda, and I do accept that for someone on the breadline 25p a week makes a difference, but it's hardly the disaster that Dick is making it out to be, for these hard working families.

    The SNP is protecting against the 10% overall reduction in Council Tax rebates [which may be 20 or 30% or more reduction in some areas, depending on the amount of money that has to be paid to the protected (ie the old)].

    Now that WILL cause hardship in high council tax areas...

    I seem to remember that a somewhat grudging appreciation of this protection of the poorest was dragged screaming from Lamont when the First Minister announced it at FMQ. He had to say "I would have thought Mrs Lamont would have welcomed...."

    She replied, "I do BUT.... blah blah... (and back to script prepared earlier in London)"

  8. Tris It was more a technical point about the water charges being payable by all than a defence of Dick and like I said I don't blame the SNP. I do on the other hand blame all the MPs who voted for the 10% rebate reduction (and I've praised the SNP's actions on this in the Guardian)and the 1% annual working age benefit rise which mean that indeed 25p a week extra (never mind all the other increases) will mean people being unable to cover essential costs.

  9. Yes PP. I knew that you weren't having a go at either the government or the piece.

    I guess, as the water rates are, in England, quite separate charges, the Social Security system which pays for the rebates, has no way of covering them.

    I know it is pretty bad that out of a guy's £56.25 JSA, along with bus fares to the Jobcentre and the scandalous price of stamps for applications, he may have to find around £5 in water rates.

    There should be some sort of benefit for it, because there is no choice about paying it (and if you don't pay it the council take you to courts as it is paid with your council tax). So it has to come before food or heat.

    The whole council tax is a nonsense of course, and could have been abolished if the Liberals hadn't been so obsessively anti SNP, and there had been some give and take between them on how to implement it.

    Old people on retirement pension and a small private pension would have been FAR better off as would low paid workers. Rich people would have picked up the slack. It's a shame that the Labour party, who are supposed to be protective of poor people, couldn't have come up with a proposal for a LIT.

    Of course people like Gordon Brown and Darling Alistair kept putting problems in the way of helping the poor. Jeeez. What a Labour party!

  10. Does the Scotsman, Dickie or the Tories offer a solution? They don’t want water charges to rise and they don’t want more subsidy from the Scottish Government! So what is their answer? Surely not just to carp from the sidelines while offering no substantive alternative? The Unionists and their media poodle (circ 36,000: printed in England) would never do that!

    Were Scottish Labour not awfully keen on allowing Councils to put up Council tax (particularly Labour run fiefdom Glasgow) at one point before they decided that that was likely to go down like a lead balloon in comparison to the continued SNP freeze and changed their mind? It seems that Council Leader Matheson’s, drinks cabinet, junkets, limo and lawyers bills for indecent acts in the street with another man require significant “investment” by the people of Glasgow. So its fine to put up Council Tax (at least while the policy is in vogue) but not water charges?

    The Tories probably want to privatise water here like they did in England. Then people living by the shores of Loch Ness can bathe in half a cup of water while profits are diverted to golden handshakes for execs and dividends for shareholder in Moscow and Quatar.

    1. Clearly Munguin, that is the way of it.

      Carping from the sidelines is the raison d’être of the Labour Party. Opposition for the sake of opposition.

      The Tories do want to privatise it. It will be more expensive; it will be less efficient, but it will make their friends some money.

      I seem to recall the the Liberthingies had some proposal but it was dead in the "water" (as it were) before it was even announced, and I can't remember what it was. But as it meant making money there must have been an element of privatisation in it.

      It's the government's job to have the answers, but the opposition would be a little more convincing as potential future governments if they actually had any real ideas.... just one wee one maybe...

  11. Tris,

    You did not seriously expect the Scotsman to print an article which would not fit under the head-line of "SNP accused"?

    It is difficult to work out the logic behind Niko's preference for the status quo. He, along with others of his ilk - if not his intelligence - quick to seize on anti-SNP articles but tend to ignore the stark fact that, for the foreseeable future, Scotland will be ruled by those who rely on Middle English voters. Their efforts, quite naturally, will be to pander to such voters.

    Incidentally, thanks for the photo of ma wee hoose which is a bit open to drafts at this time of year especially if I leave my gate open.

    1. No, John. You're right. They have a template and the story has to fit into it.

      Accusation, including words like "shocking", "massive", "pain", SNP, "hard-working families", and "up and down the country".

      This is followed by a long quote from Labour, and a shorter one from the Tories. Sometimes Willie has something to say, because no one knows who the rest of the Lib MSPs are.

      Some of the commentators in other papers are starting to see that there are no arguments for the union, just a pile of sour grapes that is insulting to us as people.

      Then we get the "We're too wee, too poor and too stupid, and we celebrate killing people, so we're inhuman too!"

      Within the union we pretend that we are not too wee, too poor and too stupid, but in fact, if you look at the state of the debt, compared with just about any other country, we clearly ARE all of these things.

      I was thinking we might get up a party of Munguin's Republic regulars and turn up with paint brushes and hammers and nails.

      All you need to provide is the sustenance. A nice island malt whisky will do the trick.

    2. Tris,

      from some of the comments on here the "Last of the Summer Wine" might be more appropriate or in Niko's case "Arsenic and old lace" - only kidding, Niko, old chum!!

    3. You know you love him really... talking of which, how is Mrs Niko? You been much to the bingo recently?