A FIFE MSP is "deeply concerned" after confirmation that Scottish Water are increasing households bills from April. 

The charges, which are paid via Council Tax, are set to rise by 8.8 per cent - well above inflation - and Alex Rowley said it's an added burden at a time when people are struggling with the cost of living crisis.  

The MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transition, Màiri McAllan, to complain about the rise, which is set by the Scottish Water board.

He said: “I am deeply concerned with the announcement that Scottish Water will be increasing water and waste charges by 8.8 per cent this year and the speculation that this will continue to rise over the next three years.

“At a time of economic uncertainty for many people across Scotland, there are questions to be answered as to why this move has been made now and what exactly Scottish Water is spending its money on.

“I also note recent coverage of the salaries and bonuses of the senior management team at Scottish Water and would say that it is not a good look to be raising charges by this amount when it was deemed appropriate to increase the new chief executive’s salary to almost £300,000 and pay out around £3 million in salary and bonuses to senior management since 2021.

“Scottish Water has attempted to justify this in a press release, stating around 50 per cent of Scottish households receive financial support with their charges.

“But at a time where the cost of everything is increasing and wages continue to stagnate, this change will hit hard-working people across the country who are already struggling to make ends meet.

“I am deeply concerned about the lack of government oversight of this decision, with the First Minister essentially saying it’s up to Scottish Water what they do at First Minister’s Questions.

“That is why I have written to the Cabinet Secretary responsible for Scottish Water to ask her what the government intends to do to ensure people across Scotland are not being pushed into further financial hardship due to government inaction.”

Scottish Water said the average weekly household bills will rise by less than 70p a week, or £35.95 per year in 2024/25.

They also said that, between 2010/11 and 2024/25, average charges to customers reduced by 10.3 per cent in real terms relative to CPI inflation.

Alex Plant, chief executive of Scottish Water, said: “As a publicly owned body, we have a clear responsibility to ensure what people pay is affordable and set at a fair level for both current and future generations.

“The board’s decision on charges for 2024/25 recognises the need for significant investment to protect services now and for the future as climate change means that more volatile weather conditions are becoming the norm rather than the exception.

“Whilst increases in bills are never welcome, and we acknowledge that cost-of-living pressures remain, this 70p a week on average increase will set us on a pathway to recover ground lost over the past two years when charges were set at a level lower than allowed for under the regulatory settlement.

“These charges will help us continue to meet our customers’ expectations, enable investment for resilience, and strike a fair balance between what customers today are paying and what future generations will need to contribute.

"The Water Charges Reduction Scheme, and other discounts, exemptions and reliefs, which apply to around 50 per cent of all households in Scotland, are in place to help customers who may struggle to pay.”