Download
slide1 n.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
Dr Carolyn Snell PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
Dr Carolyn Snell

Dr Carolyn Snell

125 Views Download Presentation
Download Presentation

Dr Carolyn Snell

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript

  1. Dr Carolyn Snell Water poverty in England and Wales: Findings from 2 research projects Dr Carolyn Snell Professor Jonathan Bradshaw Gill Main Sarah Wilson

  2. Dr Carolyn Snell Background to the research • Two research projects: • Quantitative study funded by CC Water (May 2008-April 2009) • Investigated the characteristics of households in water poverty • Investigated whether a passport benefit could be indentified • Qualitative pilot study funded through an internal University of York grant (May – August 2009) • Aimed to add a qualitative dimension to the first project

  3. Dr Carolyn Snell Defining water poverty The accepted definition is: Where a household spends more than 3% of its net income on water and sewerage

  4. Dr Carolyn Snell Dr Carolyn Snell Background: why study water poverty in England and Wales? • Cost • Water poverty is a growing problem as a result of increasing water prices • Increases in the level of water prices coincide with increasing fuel charges and food prices • Water charges are relatively low compared to other bills, but are inelastic • Variation • Regional variation in water bills - water companies hold regional monopolies • Regional variation in bills creates a unique difficulty in arriving at a national policy solution

  5. Dr Carolyn Snell Dr Carolyn Snell Background: why study water poverty in England and Wales? • Social Support • WaterSure – the only social tariff - has a very low take-up and its eligibility criteria mean that it is limited to a small sub-section of the customer base. • Policy • Before 1999 it was not illegal to disconnect water supplies, linked to an increase in dysentery and hepatitis in the early 1990s • The nature of water poverty as a policy problem has changed significantly since 1999, when it became illegal to disconnect household properties. • Since 1999 the number of households falling into arrears has increased

  6. Dr Carolyn Snell Project 1: quantitative analysis of water poverty in England and Wales • Data from the Family Resources Survey (FRS) has been used to analyse the socio-economic characteristics of those at risk of water poverty in England and Wales. • Analysis of the most recent data (2006-7) found that 14.6 per cent of the population were in water poverty. • Proposed increases over the next five years could double this in some regions

  7. Dr Carolyn Snell Headline figures • The water poverty rate is double the average for: • single pensioners • households on means tested benefits • workless households • the bottom income quintile

  8. Dr Carolyn Snell Findings • Income • Of all those in water poverty, 71.3 per cent are in the lowest income quintile, and of those in the lowest income quintile, 54.9 per cent are in water poverty. • Amongst all those defined as water poor, 71.6 per cent are households with no workers Household Makeup • Of the water poor, 54.4 per cent are single occupancy households. • Of households in water poverty, 30.7 per cent are single pensioners. Age • Of the water poor, 30.7 per cent are single pensioners. • Region • Regional variation: at regional level the highest proportion of water poor households is Wales, with 20.2 per cent of households living in water poverty. This is closely followed by the South West with 19.9 per cent of households living in water poverty. • BUT these regions DO NOT map onto current water company regions

  9. Dr Carolyn Snell Findings: benefits and tax credits

  10. Dr Carolyn Snell Project One: Conclusions This is a difficult policy problem because: • Water poverty is suffered by a range of households in very different circumstances • A benefits focused policy response is problematic because of the relatively small proportions of the water poor that would be helped • The regional variation in charges creates a unique difficulty in arriving at a national policy solution

  11. Dr Carolyn Snell Further research questions • Our second project set out answer the following research questions: • What are the effects of being in water poverty? • How do households prioritise bills and expenses? • Do households take up current support mechanisms that are available?

  12. Dr Carolyn Snell Findings: how do households prioritise bills and expenses? • Bills are prioritised over debts • Fuel is prioritised over water • Water is a mid to low level priority • Priorities tend to revolve around the ability to function e.g. • Eating, heating, children's well being • TV licence is often deprioritised/unpaid

  13. Dr Carolyn Snell Findings: What are the effects of struggling to pay? • Sacrifices in other areas • Wellbeing • Not being able to socialise • Limited activities for children • Impact on family relationships • E.g. can’t buy Xmas gifts • Impact on other relationships • Toping up mobile • Buying a round • Going out for a coffee • Health • Inadequate food • Inadequate heating • Mental health • Debt • Wellbeing • Stress, depression etc. • Sense of helplessness • Fear • Where families help out there is guilt/resentment/ irritation/control • Impact of debt recovery methods • Bailiffs • Disconnection of other utilities • Payment plans

  14. Dr Carolyn Snell Findings: do households take up current support mechanisms that are available? Government policy V Experiences • Fuel poverty strategy: • Warm front • Switching tariff • Cold weather payments • Broader social exclusion initiatives • Fuel direct • Water poverty : • Water sure • Water direct • Limited knowledge of schemes available • Limited ability to take up schemes • Unpopularity of switching tariff • Lack of advice by companies • Lack of advice by agencies about options • Confusion over eligibility

  15. Dr Carolyn Snell Project One: Conclusions • Water poverty tends to affect those already struggling financially • Water debts are de-prioritised compared to other debts that are associated with a direct consequence • There is a mismatch between policy and experience