A CAMBERLEY woman has slammed the red tape surrounding Thames Water's payment of soakaway rebates.

Mrs Michele Sheppard, of Bristow Road, spoke out after the company seemed to fight shy of settling her 73-year-old father's claim.

"I want to know what's going on," she said. "Why are old age pensioners and other claimants subjected to so much red tape?"

She is also angry that those whose homes have a surface water soakaway, instead of a drain, have to claim the £15.50 rebate each year.

"Why is this money not given to householders automatically each and every year once they have completed all the necessary forms?" she asked.

Mrs Sheppard alleged that her father, Bill Allen, of Surbiton Road, Old Dean, was given the run-around after being sent the claim forms.

He had no help from Thames Water, she said, in providing proof that his house had a soakaway.

There were also other questions which left him baffled. "My father is not usually easily confused," she said. "But I had to help him with this claim.

"It's caused so much trouble he feels it is hardly worth claiming."

She is also suspicious that home-owners receive preferential treatment over those, such as her father, who live in housing association properties.

Mrs Sheppard said that, according to her information, home-owners received their rebates more quickly and with less fuss.

Her father finally received his rebate after a two-month tussle with the company. Despite repeated calls, no-one was answering the telephone at the Thames Water press office when we dialled them.