CUMNOCK and Doon Valley residents are among over 20,000 in East Ayrshire who would be affected by an end to the single-occupancy water charge discount.

Currently, single-occupancy homes are entitled to a 25 per cent discount or £109.35 for a council tax band D home.

Ministers are considering proposals to end the discount – which would affect 22,176 people in East Ayrshire including single parents and elderly residents – after a consultation ended in September.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has condemned the proposals and signed a motion put forward to the Scottish Parliament against them, saying: “The proposed plan would see almost 70,000 people, living alone in Ayrshire being forced to pay an extra £100 a year for water charges. Many people who live alone are elderly or single parents and can be at greater risk of poverty.

“For the overwhelming majority, the single persons discount is worth 25 per cent of the total bill. That’s a lot of money to take away from single people, many of them pensioners, on fixed incomes.

“Hiking up the water charges for people living alone by over £100 would be an attack on single, older people and on single parents who struggle to manage bringing up children on one income.”