Thriving businesses underpin Scotland's economic growth and future prosperity. Our approach to charging for water services has an important part to play in this.
Following our consultation "Investing in and Paying for Your Water Services from 2015", we noted our intention to charge vacant business properties for water and sewerage services received. Even though the properties are vacant, the owners continue to benefit from the services provided by Scottish Water. The cost of providing those services is, at present, met by other customers. This cross subsidy means that charges for those customers are higher than they need to be. It is therefore appropriate that owners of vacant properties should meet those costs. The additional revenue generated by removing this cross-subsidy will be used to restrict increases in charges to business customers.
I invite you to express your views on the timing and details of the introduction of charges for vacant business properties by writing to us. Should you prefer a face-to-face discussion, please indicate this in your reply. My officials are keen to discuss these proposals with the business sector in particular and to ensure affected organisations are prepared for the changes.
I will confirm the arrangements in Autumn 2015.