This government has recently introduced legislation that will revitalise the water industry in the UK, boosting investment, keeping costs down and protecting the environment. Yet, there are a lot of fibs going around. I am penning this article to put them to bed.
Fib: The people of the United Kingdom have already rejected private water in a referendum.
Fact: The referendum was a local referendum in part of Scotland in 1994, and the water bill does not apply to Scotland anyway. In actual fact, consumer satisfaction with privatised water is always a majority, reaching 94%.
Fib: Water companies will be able to turn off people’s water supply.
Fact: This was against the law pre-nationalisation and remains so. The nationalisers in 2015 never introduced protections to ensure the nationalised companies cannot do this right now.
Fib: Water companies will put bills up for profit.
Fact: Ofwat will regulate bills just as they did before. According to Ofwat bills rose £120 less under the privatised system than they otherwise would have. Before nationalisation, bills were falling in real terms. Any reduction in bills under a nationalised system would mean more taxes.
Fib: The legislation will leave us with no competition.
Fact: Competition will be increased and privatisation will unlock new ways to innovate even more competition. Under a nationalised system there is no competition at all, with privatisation, Ofwat will compare the different water commany’s performances with each other and ensure that none of them are underperforming. Privatisation also unlocks the possibility of a retail market at a later date.
Fib: Water privatisation has no benefits.
Fact: Under privatisation investment almost doubled from £9.8bn in the six years before, to over £17bn in the six years after. Bills are £120 cheaper than they otherwise would be, and were falling before nationalisation. There is a 94% satisfaction rate amongst consumers.
For the environment, leakages dropped by 40% and river pollution dropped by 70%. Ignored discharged consents dropped from 3% to 0.02%. Twice the number of “excellent beaches”.
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