Yorkshire Water is boosting the help it offers to 10,000 customers struggling to pay their bills by launching a new tariff that will help people clear debts more quickly.

The Direct Support scheme is designed to help customers who pay their bills and any arrears from their benefit payments.

It will see Yorkshire Water match any customer contributions to their arrears, with 10,000 people expected to receive support this financial year through this scheme. Direct Support will provide, on average, a contribution of £195 per year from the company towards their bills.

Once added to the new tariff, customers will be continue receiving Yorkshire Water contributions until their debts have been cleared.

This is the latest measure to help customers that may be struggling with their bills. More than 44,000 customers have been supported with their bills by Yorkshire Water in the last 12 months to a value of over £11.8m.

In 2020, more than 12,000 customers have also received a three-month payment holiday due to the financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, with additional support offered on bills at the end of the payment holiday if required.

Zoe Burns-Shore, Yorkshire Water’s director of customer experience, said: “This new tariff will offer additional help to people paying their bills via benefits payments.

“Around 10,000 customers will be moved to the new tariff and receive quarterly contributions from Yorkshire Water towards their bills and any arrears they may have.

“While this tariff is limited to a specific group of customers, we have a wide range of tariffs available that offer additional support to those who may be experiencing financial difficulties of struggling to cover their bills. We are keen to help customers where we can and by talking to us about problems with billing, we can work together to find a solution.”

Customers facing challenging times and struggling with finances can access WaterSure and WaterSupport tariffs.

The company also has a free priority service that provides customers with extra support, including bills in accessible formats, temporary water supplies during a supply interruption, the ability to add a nominee on their account or have a password so they know it’s a genuine colleague arriving at their door. Those registered will also be contacted as a priority should there be an incident in their area.