I am delighted at news of a victory for North West schools, who were faced with inflated water rates due to bills relating to the run-off of water from their playgrounds.
As a governor at Nevill Road School in Bramhall, I have long campaigned for reductions to the surface water rates in Stockport’s schools, after being shocked to discover that North West schools were charged £27million, in contrast to schools in the South East which were charged £11million.
I raised the issue with Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions last year, asking: “Will the Government make representations to Ofwat to change the banding guidance so that schools are considered to be community assets rather than classified in the same way as big business?”
After pressing the issue with United Utilities, meeting with other Government Ministers, and after much campaigning, there will be a concessionary rate introduced which will reduce the amount schools across Greater Manchester are charged for their water rates.
From 2018/19, every educational establishment from primary school to sixth form which has a playground will receive the discount, and for the overwhelming majority of schools in Cheadle this will lead to an approximate 40% reduction in the overall wastewater bill. This will mean that more money can stay with schools and be used for educating our children.
I’m grateful to United Utilities for reducing these burdensome charges and providing much needed relief to our local schools. I know that there is always more work to be done so that our schools and children can receive their fair share of funding, and I am pleased that we have been able to make a difference in this area.