Live bath taps

Typical (max?) value of Ze is 0.35.

50/0.35 = 143....

One would hope that would not distress the supply cable, but I'm surprised that at the small contact between a couple of "nicks" there wasn't localised overheating....
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Please forgive me if I'm entering this discussion a bit late.

The current posted problem appears to have been solved :) but I'll still offer the following for 'next time':

The plastics industry has got quite clever with electro-plating so the chromium plated plastic waste fitting mentioned probably has quite a good conducting surface. It might even be chrome on nickel on electro-less copper.

A simple test touching the prods of a multimeter set to the Ohms range on a similar fitting but not contacting each other will soon prove the point.
My electric meter is on the outside of the house the meter tails and pme earth go from the meter through the cavity wall about 1m and into the cu.
the "nicks" in the cables were just inside the cavity wall and were very small (only just enough to touch each other) there was no smell or hot cables just the voltage problem.
As said, If it was a total dead short across the supply then I think we would expect blown main fuse. If not, then something must be acting as a load and dissipating rather a lot of power. you do not seem to have had either. So we remain interested and not quite clear what was going on. It would be possible to set up a potential divider and generate 50V on the notional earth, but this would seem to need at least two faults. Short from live and also bad earth.

Of course it might be the leccy did not want to admit that your earth was duff at their end, so just showed you a nicked cable?
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could be right about the electric bloke but the main pme earth cable was only 4mm now changed to 16mm.

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