SNP Government keeps 90% of UK water supply in the UK as Tories let the other 10% leak into foreign ownership

In the Guardian today:

Foreign investment firms, private equity, pension funds and businesses lodged in tax havens own more than 70% of the water industry in England, according to research by the Guardian.

The complex web of ownership is revealed as the public and some politicians increasingly call for the industry to be held to account for sewage dumping, leaks and water shortages. Six water companies are under investigation for potentially illegal activities as pressure grows on the industry to put more money into replacing and restoring crumbling infrastructure to protect both the environment and public health.

More than three decades after the sector was sold off with a promise to the public they would become individual small shareholders or “H2Owners”, control of the water industry has become dominated by overseas investment vehicles, the super-rich, companies in tax havens and pension fund investors. 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/30/more-than-70-per-cent-english-water-industry-foreign-ownership

What percentage of all UK water is that 70%?

Scotland has 90% of the UK’s fresh water – with 7452 million cubic litres, Loch Ness itself contains more water than all the English and Welsh lakes together 

https://www.thenational.scot/news/19515230.big-corporations-could-make-scotlands-water-next-oil/

Who owns the Scottish Water?

Scotland’s public drinking water and sewerage services are provided by Scottish Water, a public company accountable to Scottish Ministers and Scottish Parliament.

https://www.gov.scot/policies/water/#:~:text=Scotland%27s%20public%20drinking%20water%20and,Scottish%20Ministers%20and%20Scottish%20Parliament.

We do.

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9 thoughts on “SNP Government keeps 90% of UK water supply in the UK as Tories let the other 10% leak into foreign ownership

  1. Several points:
    1. At the time of privatisation, we were told that the introduction of funds from investors would provide for ‘much-needed’ investment in water infrastructure. The water companies had an ‘incentive’ to make things better, because of THE MARKET. If a company did not provide highly potable water the customers would buy from another company. This, of course was a lie. The companies were based on the former water boards and customers could buy from any company as long as it was the local one – the only one. So, a publicly owned monopoly was replaced by a privately owned one which had a ‘duty to maximise shareholder value’, i.e. PROFITS. And profits are maximised by cutting expenditure, such as modernising infrastructure, minimising maintenance and staffing levels. Since customers cannot ‘shop around’, income is boosted by increasing prices. Ah, but there is Ofwat to make companies behave by imposing fines for things like sewage discharges. PISH! Some kinds of discharges are ‘permitted’, and for the other discharges they are budgeted for by the accountants who cover them by price increases.

    2. With regard to the fact that 90% of freshwater in the UK is in Scotland – this is one of several reasons why the British-English nationalists will not countenance independence. Scotland’s resources are what underpins the rapidly crumbling sterling. This is what Bodger Broon calls ‘pooling and sharing’, which he claims is good for Scotland because we are ‘too wee and no very good’.

    3. The bombastic Guardian, if it deigns to inform its readers in the affluent parts of North London, where Starmer lives, of the reality of the distribution of water in the North Atlantic archipelago of Greater England-Britain, they will have Libby Brooks write a sneering article about how ‘Sturgeon’ will make a mess of things and Steve Bell will produce a racist cartoon dehumanising Scots.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Very true, but of course like Mary Poppins’ medicine, it’s how you make it go down, and this whole privatisation lark was a triumph of marketing over reality.
      If you were reasonably affluent in the 80s and early 90s, the offer of shares in a company that really couldnt (or certainly shouldnt) fail, in such as what had been to date, a public utility, it’s quite attractive from an individual point of view – put out some money now and watch the divis roll in. But of course when the shares were sold to the public, the demand in the stock market was much higher, so it was possible even for Joe Public to make a quick capital gain on the shares he had bought. Or, if he hung on, eventually reality strikes – the car needs fixed, some building work needs done, money to fund a holiday in Florida etc – and they sell up to large financial concerns, which initially might be British, but in due course the foreign concerns move in.
      And it’s not just water. Check out electricity – EDF stands for Electricite de France – Scottish Power is a subsidiary of Iberdrola, a Spanish utility company, who are attracted by the lack of a genuine market in the UK – as you say “customers cannot ‘shop around’,”. The notion of such as OFWAT is rendered ridiculous by the proposition that a govt organization ought to be able to set constraints that determine profit and how much folk should pay.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. ”North Sea Oil , British Gas , Electricity , Railways , Water , Post Office , …the Tories selling off these public assets has produced better services and lower prices for the customer !”
    Other Fairy Tales are available in any Tory Manifesto or the front pages of The Unionist Press and in the recently redacted Starmer Principals .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A benefit of Devolution. Independence would be even better. Essential services protected not undersold. Scotland the best water in the world. Other places have to buy it in. Really expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

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