Ofwat plays with figures in bid to keep room for water price cuts

Water regulator Ofwat has cut almost 20% off the water companies' estimates of the cost of meeting tighter environmental and drinking water standards in 2000-5. But Ofwat's own figures have been inflated, in the apparent hope that Environment Ministers will trim the environmental programme and enable the regulator to slash water bills in 2000 and hold them down thereafter.

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