MPs from every corner of the Westcountry have joined forces to lobby the Government on "unfair" water bills blighting households.
In an unprecedented show of cross-party support in the region, 17 MPs from Devon and Cornwall have signed a letter to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs backing proposals for substantial financial support.
The missive urges ministers to make good on plans to give the region up to £40 million of cash a year to offset the financial headache caused by privatisation in the 1980s.
South West Water customers represent 3 per cent of the population of England and Wales, but pay for the clean-up of 30 per cent of the country's beaches.
The average annual charge topped £600 for the first time this year – the highest in the country – but some pay more than £1,000 a year. In April, ministers announced they were considering giving the Westcountry an annual subsidy that would see the average bill cut by around £50.
The MPs' letter aims to influence the Government's consultation on the proposals, which closes on June 17. The letter is signed by Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs.
It reads: "We are delighted the Government has come forward with robust and far reaching proposals that will once and for all overcome the twin problems of unfairness and affordability.
"We therefore fully support the proposals for example to reduce the bills for all through an annual payment of £40 million from public expenditure and the enhancements to WaterSure, including the measure to cap it at the level of the national average metered bill."
The MPs ask that the measures be "delivered through legislation at the earliest possible opportunity", and no later than May 2012.
It is signed by Ben Bradshaw (Lab, Exeter), Oliver Colvile (Con, Plymouth Sutton and Devonport), Geoffrey Cox (Con, Torridge and West Devon), George Eustice (Con, Camborne and Redruth), Andrew George (Lib Dem, St Ives), Stephen Gilbert (Lib Dem, St Austell and Newquay), Nick Harvey (Lib Dem, North Devon), Anne Marie Morris (Con, Newton Abbot), Sheryll Murray (Con, South East Cornwall), Sarah Newton (Con, Truro and Falmouth), Neil Parish (Con, Tiverton and Honiton), Dan Rogerson (Lib Dem, North Cornwall), Adrian Sanders (Lib Dem, Torbay), Alison Seabeck (Lab, Plymouth Moor View), Gary Streeter (Con, South West Devon), Mel Stride (Con, Central Devon) and Sarah Wollaston (Con, Totnes).
More than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for action which can be found here http://tinyurl.com/3cn39em