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Response to El_Johns (Original post)

Sat Feb 15, 2014, 06:42 AM

2. Update (I think that was written in 2001, since it still has Wales as for-profit)

Ofwat has announced that average household water and sewerage bills in England and Wales are to increase by an average of 5.7% from April. As in the case with the rail fares, we're told that the reason that prices are rising is to enable more "investment" by the water companies. But a closer inspection is highly revealing. While English water companies are hiking charges by as much as 8.2%, Glas Cymru, the owner of Welsh Water is only raising prices by 3.8%. In Scotland, there's going to be no price rise at all.

The discrepancies can be explained by the different ownership structure of the water companies in England, Wales and Scotland. While England's water industry was sold off to the private sector by the Conservative government in 1989, Scotland's stayed in full public ownership. Scottish Water, with no pressure to provide dividends to shareholders or reward wealthy investors, not only charges lower prices to its users than English companies, it has also recently announced that its price freeze, introduced in 2009, will continue for a fourth successive year. In Wales, Glas Cymru is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, set up after the collapse of the privately owned Hyder in 2001. Average household water bills in Wales in the six months to September 2010 were 4 lower than a year before.
Today's news surely shows that it's England which should be copying the Scottish and Welsh models and not the other way round. Water privatisation was arguably the most ideologically extreme of all the Conservative sell-offs of the 80s and 90s. Selling off water would have been regarded as completely barmy idea by the One Nation, middle-of-the-road postwar Tories like Harold Macmillan, but it became Conservative party policy under Margaret Thatcher. So thanks to the Conservatives, we in England now have our water provided by companies such as Thames Water, whose parent company Kemble Water is a subsidiary of Kemble Water Holdings Limited, which is owned by the Macquarie Group, an Australian global investment banking conglomerate. Thames Water is raising its prices by 6.7%.

Southern Water meanwhile, which is increasing charges by 8.2%, is owned by Southern Water Capital Ltd, which in 2007 was bought by a consortium led by JP Morgan Chase. JP Morgan's Chase announced profits of $4.26bn last October something for those about to fill their kettles in Brighton or Eastbourne, to reflect on.


Roughly two thirds of the water supply is ultimately owned by overseas companies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_water_companies (eg 'Greensands Holdings', who own Southern Water, my supplier, is owned by "Australian pension funds, a fund advised by JP Morgan Asset Management and a fund advised by UBS Global Asset Management".

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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
El_Johns Feb 2014 OP
blkmusclmachine Feb 2014 #1
LineNew Reply Update (I think that was written in 2001, since it still has Wales as for-profit)
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2014 #2
postulater Feb 2014 #3
El_Johns Feb 2014 #8
otherone Feb 2014 #4
Enthusiast Feb 2014 #5
WinkyDink Feb 2014 #6
Squinch Feb 2014 #7
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