It looks like the UK’s privatised water firms are trying to sell us down the river again.
They want to add an extra 40 per cent to our bills, saying that’s what it will cost to clean up the sewage crisis they have caused by neglecting the UK’s crumbling system of sewage pipes.
Here’s a report about it, broadcast early in the morning of Wednesday, June 28, 2023:
Water companies are drawing up plans to increase bills by up to 40% to pay for the cost of tackling the sewage crisis.
According to The Times, rises are expected to be announced next year and could mean annual bills increase from an average of around £450, up to £680. pic.twitter.com/rUKXaNX54i
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) June 28, 2023
It’s true that Thames Water boss Sarah Bentley has quit her job, that was worth £1.6 million a year to her, even before she got anywhere near the bonus she received (that she has already given back amid anger over the firm’s poor performance over sewage):
"Thames Water boss Sarah Bentley quits £1.6m a year job after giving up her bonus amid fury over sewage leaks."
— Feargal Sharkey (@Feargal_Sharkey) June 28, 2023
We don’t know how much her bonus totalled but last year she received £496,000.
Unlike many of the water firms, it turns out that this was much more than Thames Water shareholders received – they haven’t had a payout in six years, possibly because the business seems about to go down the pan:
Of all the privatisations Water privatisation has been the most egregious rip off, lining the pockets of many Tories & their friends. If Thames Water is brought back into public ownership, Labour must make it clear it will stay in public hands. https://t.co/T3Q3ZFYJnb
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) June 27, 2023
Thames Water is an unusual case, though; since privatisation in the late 1980s, water companies have paid out £72 billion to shareholders.
Should this money have been invested in restoring the crumbling system? Has such investment been watered down to give a fast return to investors?
Panellists on the BBC’s Politics Live thrashed their way through these murky waters in two debates, when it seemed the Tory panellists, Bob Seely and Johnny Mercer, knew why this disaster has happened, but the left-wingers had the solution to it. See for yourself:
The funding system certainly seems to be sending our money down the drain.
But isn’t that because water is not appropriate for privatisation and is, as Mr McKenna suggested, a racket?
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