Benefits system is best way to direct support to the needy

SectionThe Water Industry (Financial Assistance) Bill, which started its Parliamentary journey last week, will finally redress a problem for South West Water customers - that the costs of improving bathing waters fall disproportionately on a small community with a long coastline. It will provide a £50 subsidy on bills until 2015. That's a socialised subsidy. But the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says it was a "unique situation", where the customers were penalised by geography.

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