LABOUR has called on Scottish Water to refund every household in the country £100 on their bills. 

The party's interim leader Jackie Baillie called on the state-owned water company to get cash back into people's pockets after a "hard winter".

She claimed the company could afford the proposal and that the money would be "sitting unused in Scottish Water's bank vaults" otherwise. 

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Ms Baillie added: “By delivering an immediate flat-rate £100 rebate on their next water bill, every household in Scotland will benefit - with the poorest households benefiting most. It will put cash into householders’ pockets to meet bills or boost spending that can help our high street traders as we emerge from the pandemic.   

“There is so much cash in the system that we can easily afford this and retain enough cash to cover the effects of the pandemic on Scottish Water’s income.  

“This is the sort of good news that households need after a hard winter. It is, after all, our money - as the people of Scotland own Scottish Water.” 

But Scottish Water is pressing ahead with an increase to water charges. Most households will see their bills going up by an average of 0.9% in April, with more than 400,000 customers paying less due to the Water Charges Reduction Scheme being extended. 

Those who pay the full charge level pay 2.5 per cent more - the maximum allowed increase. 

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Scottish Water serves around 2.5 million households across the country and its latest accounts, published on Christmas Eve, show it had cash reserves of £531m.

Its chief executive, Douglas Millican, said: "The combined challenges of ageing assets and climate change, as well as the need to drive down our carbon emissions, mean we have no option other than to invest for the future.

"We are very aware of the economic conditions and the pressure on household finances and that is why we have restricted charge increases to a maximum of 2.5%.

“This decision, together with the Scottish Government decision in its Principles of Charging to increase and extend the Water Charges Reduction Scheme, strike the right balance between helping our customers this year and avoiding much higher increases in future years.”