A water company under investigation has been slammed as "shoddy" in parliament as politicians were told a dog died "as a result of sewage".

Layla Moran, Oxford West and Abingdon MP, made the comments on Thames Water during a Westminster debate on Wednesday.

This comes amid some residents also expressing concern over an apparent overcharge in bills affecting “vulnerable” customers in particular.

Ms Moran said: “Local residents across Oxfordshire are fed up with seeing raw sewage in our rivers, worrying about their pets and children getting ill, all while Thames Water are planning to hike water bills."

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The Liberal Democrat MP also referenced anecdotes from constituents which included a dog owner claiming his dog Roy had died after entering raw sewage and an angler saying he had seen faeces “float past the end of his fishing rod”.

Water minister Robbie Moore added during the debate: “Thames Water's performance is completely unacceptable and they must take urgent steps to turn this around.”

Meanwhile, there has been additional concern in Oxfordshire about an apparent overcharge in bills with claims that this is particularly affecting vulnerable people.

A resident of Blackbird Leys in Oxford, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “My most recent bill was £320.16.

"This was significantly higher than my last bill.

Herald Series: Layla Moran MPLayla Moran MP (Image: Jon Lewis)

"It was estimated as was my last bill, so I called Thames Water to query it, and to ask that they come out and do an actual reading. 

"They took the reading yesterday and have revised my bill.

"My bill is now £269.60 in credit.

"That is an over charge of £589.76.

“The last three bills jumped higher then I expected, and I wasn't happy that they estimated two bills in a row.

"It's a concern that some of our elderly and vulnerable residents may be suffering hardship due to incorrect billing."

Thames Water is responsible for water supply and waste water treatment across several areas of the UK.

Dr Hosnieh Marbini-Djafari, a city councillor of the Northfield Brook ward, said: "We have all seen our water bills rising over recent times despite the fact that Thames Water paid out £37 million of 'internal dividends' to its parent company in 2022 alone.

“Paying the bills has been tough for so many of our residents in Northfield Brook and it is really worrying that a mistake to the tune of £589.76 could have been made was it not for the careful attention and persistence of our resident."

A Thames Water spokesman said: “We regard all discharges as unacceptable, and we have published plans to upgrade over 250 of our sewage treatment works and sewers.

"We’re currently increasing sewage treatment capacity at a number of our sewage works across the Thames Valley, including Witney Sewage Treatment Works which is expected to be completed in 2024.

“It is important to remember, pollutants, animal faeces from livestock and wildlife, along with run off from farms and roads can also contribute to hazards found in watercourses."

The company added that a customer services team representative would get in touch with the dissatisfied Blackbird Leys resident over the apparent overcharge.