§ Linda Gilroy
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether it is Government policy to close the Water Voice office in Exeter; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Morley
[holding answer 20 July 2004]The Government's policy in relation to Water Voice regional offices is to take forward the recommendations made by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in its report on the organisational and regional structure of the Consumer Council for Water that was published in January 2004, and for an Implementation Steering Group, which includes representatives from Defra, WaterVoice and Ofwat, to decide on the location of merged regional offices for the new Consumer Council for Water.
PwC recommended that the offices in Exeter and Bristol currently serving the South West and Wessex should be merged in to one office and located either in Exeter, Bristol or at a new site in Taunton. Following consultation with staff in Exeter and Bristol, the Steering Group agreed that the merged office should be located in Bristol.