§ Mr. Austin Mitchell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the cost of installing treatment plant to reduce pollution of the water supply to the European Economic Community standard; and whether the water companies after privatisation will be allowed to add a margin of profit on the capital employed in the installation in addition to the cost of borrowing the sum required for that purpose.
§ Mr. Howard
Water undertakers have submitted programmes of work, together with projections of the cost (including the cost of installing new treatment plants) of complying with the EC drinking water directive. My right hon. Friend is reviewing the programmes, which require discussion with individual water undertakers. Until he has examined them all it is not possible to indicate their costs. However, the programme together with their costs, will be included in prospectuses to be published later in the year.
Clause 7 of the Water Bill requires the Secretary of State, or the Director General of Water Services, to ensure that water and sewerage undertakers are able (in particular by securing reasonable returns on their capital) to finance the proper carrying out of their functions.