Joseph Rowntree Foundation: numpties again

\”Water poverty\” will become the new fuel poverty for an increasing number of households as scarcity of supply pushes up bills, according to an influential thinktank that says Britain must deal urgently with climate change.

A report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, one of the largest social policy research-and-development charities, says that low-income households are at particular risk because of new methods being introduced to increase the efficient use and distribution of water. It defines \”water poverty\” as when households spend 3% or more of their income on water bills.

Blimey, have you ever seen such a mish mash of logical idiocy in your life?

Assume, for a moment, that the basic premise is correct: that climate change will mean water shortages.

Great, so what do we do about this?

Yup, we have to price water properly:

Water companies are moving away from flat-rate fees to new charging models that bill customers with steadily higher prices according to how much water they use.

Excellent, tiered prices. Basic allowance at cheapo prices, you want to start watering the 10 acre paddock you pay a fortune. Great, just what the economist ordered.

So, umm, JRF are actually complaining about the very solution to the problem they identify.

It\’s all a bit of a let down from the early days, isn\’t it? JR himself, when he saw that there was no decent cheap housing went and built some. His fortune is now used to complain about actually solving problems.

9 comments on “Joseph Rowntree Foundation: numpties again

  1. Grew up in the Isle of Wight. Just about the first place in the country that got metered water imposed (although my sister cleverly, and successfully, argued that an ancient covenant gave her the rights to extract as much as she wanted on her farm since it was an artesian borehole and not covered under law.) So everyone pays for what they use. Horrific. Fascistic. N’est-ce pas?

    Net result? When there’s a hosepipe ban in the South East, the IOW doesn’t (except out of the ‘everyone must suffer’ paradigm.) They just weigh their lawns going brown against their bank balances. Yay! Market forces! Optimal resource allocation! Except apparently in the mind of the fucking levellers if poor people have a scorched back-garden it’s ‘unfair’ if Lady Bountiful down the road is still watering her petunias, despite her paying through the nose for the ‘privilege’.

  2. David is right; Tim is right; the JRF are being idiots. Next time I’m in the UK, I’m going to have to pitch them my problem of “gin poverty”, which is when a bottle of Bombay Sapphire costs more than two hours’ wages.

  3. Isn’t their argument (as bad as it might be) simply that water shortages will mean rising water prices and given the demand for it can be very inelastic, these could both be a) huge, and b) a major drain on some households’ standard of living?

  4. So “water poverty” is 3% and, if memory serves, energy poverty is reckoned to be 10% or more of household income. What about “tax poverty”?

  5. “The new fuel poverty” would only be possible if the old fuel poverty was being ended. Since our eco-fascist government is intent on driving up prices, perhaps 5 fold that will not happen until we get a government that prefers freedom.

    93% of electricity prices are already government parasitism and so fuel poverty (& the other sorts) could be ended if desired.

  6. Matthew: the idea that demand for water is inelastic hasn’t been put to the test yet in the UK, except in isolated enclaves like the IOW and there, let me tell you, beyond drinking and flushing toilets it’s fucking Flubber.

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  8. You’re right that tiered pricing is part of the answer, but it won’t solve the problem of water poverty. As water prices continue to rise (Walker review suggests this will be by 5 % each year) there will be some people who simply don’t have the money to pay for the water they need for normal everday use. Its also harder to limit water use if you have a big family, or family members with medical needs as well as if you can’t afford to buy more water efficient appliances. http://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/files/jrf/climate-change-adaptation-full.pdf

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