Tag Archives: bust

Should water firms charge an extra 40% to tackle the sewage crisis?

You pay for their bad decisions: the privatised, profit-driven water firms have had more than 30 years to fund the restoration of the UK’s crumbling sewage system but instead they have given £72 billion to investors and pumped our effluent into the environment. Now they want to increase our bills by almost half to fix the problem they have created. But where will the money really go?

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:

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):

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:

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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