After the carrot of reduced charges comes the stick of direct deductions
Labour strategists have by now accepted that usual vote transfers from parties on their further left flank are lost to them. They must now address the working people who do not like water charges, but will at very least acquiesce and pay up.
"What do you say to the person who has paid their water bill and feels their neighbour, who is refusing to pay, is laughing at them and giving the two fingers to the system?" one Labour backbencher asked rhetorically in recent days.
The answer is that the Government will follow the carrot of water grants and reduced charges, with the stick of direct deductions from wages and welfare. They hope that people get the distinction between treatment of those refusing to pay - and of those who cannot pay.