Time’s up: Campaigners and MPs step up demands for end to water privatisation

“The story of water privatisation is a story of failure. We’ve had thirty years of rising bills, shareholders and CEOs pocketing millions."

Anti-privatisation campaigners have been joined by MPs as they step up their campaign for England’s water to be brought into public ownership.

Last Saturday saw demonstrations around the country following news that Southern Water had been forced to pay £126m for spilling wastewater into the environment and had been deliberately misreporting its performance.

Today John McDonnell, Caroline Lucas and MPs across the Commons joined forces to launch the “People’s Plan for Water” – a crowdsourced manifesto of over 600 submissions on what publicly owned water could look like and what it could achieve.

The campaign is being coordinated by We Own It – the campaign for public ownership of public services, to mark thirty years since water was privatised by Margaret Thatcher’s government.

We Own It campaigns officer Ellen Lees said:

“The story of water privatisation is a story of failure. We’ve had thirty years of rising bills, shareholders and CEOs pocketing millions, and private companies failing to fix leaks in the system.

“The public are absolutely clear. 83% of us want to see water in public ownership. Now we’re speaking out and saying time’s up for private water companies that have ripped us off, polluted our rivers and allowed cash to flow straight from our bills into their shareholders’ bank accounts…it’s time for public ownership.”

The CEOs of private water companies have earnt £70 million in salary, bonuses, and other remuneration in the past six years, according to recent reports.

We Own It argues that bringing England’s water companies into public ownership would save £2.3 billion every year. They also claim that this could save people around £100 a year on bills.

Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.

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6 Responses to “Time’s up: Campaigners and MPs step up demands for end to water privatisation”

  1. Patrick Newman

    It is not just water but all the Thatcher privatisations have been nothing but trouble – even BT who were effectively granted private monopoly powers. I doubt if a fortnight goes by without a news item reporting some breakdown or mal-practice created by a privatised company or industry. If anything Labour’s renationalisation proposals are too modest.

  2. steve

    Will the majority of Labour MPs back the ‘Peoples’ Plan for Water’?

    A majority backed the Tories over Heathrow expansion – even against LP policy.

    Can’t see that they’ll be wanting to recognise private sector failures and diminish corporate employment opportunities on retirement from the HoP.

  3. Jacque de Rohan-Cabot

    Its not before time that the natural gift to humans was brought back into their hands, thus preventing shareholders supping from their own greedy cupped hands that which belongs to the people.

    The only party capable and honest enoughh to do this is the Labouur party under Jeremy Corbyn. In the hands of the Greens, sorry to say, the idea would be hijacked by the Liberals, who will quickly dump the idea if they are part of a Tory coalition. They will use the lie vehicle, again (Uni fees), to get votes through deceit.

    Labour will carry this through, then the rail, bus, gas and electricity, all back into our hands. Save poor house holds £300/£700 a year. That is 3/4 months food money to sum. But don’t just make promises, do it. Vote Labour, lets get this done.

  4. leftfootforward.org

    Fix in place is a bonzer originate pro you. leftfootforward.org

  5. Tom Sacold

    All natural monopolies, utilities and financial utilities (banks) should be publicly owned.

    Other companies should only be allowed to be run as producer or consumer co-operatives.

    We need real socialist reform.

  6. Julia Gibb

    The people still own the water in Scotland. The only risk to that situation is Westminster whatever shade of Tory Government is in power.

    We still have Scottish Labour working with the Tories and LibDems to run local government and oppose the SNP Government.

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