After reading today’s piece in the Independent, today – Burst pipe-dreams: Why privatisation hasn’t improved the supply of our water – the Scottish Labour Leader has accused the SNP of failing to keep him up to date and of recklessly not renewing the nationalisation of Scotland’s water, every year, just in case.
In the Independent, we read:
‘Pipes would still burst under national ownership. Public servants are perfectly capable of bungling. Yet it would also be a land without financial engineering, grotesque cash extraction, endemic tax avoidance, and stratospheric managerial pay. Last year Thames Water was hit with a £20m fine for polluting the waterways of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire with a billion and a half litres of raw sewage between 2012 and 2014. The judge cited a “failure to report incidents” and a “history of non-compliance” by the company. Equipment was unmaintained. Warnings from employees went unheeded by management. Thames’s conduct was branded “disgraceful”, justifying the largest financial penalty for pollution in UK corporate history. While all that was going on Thames’s boss, the aptly named Martin Baggs, received a 60 per cent pay rise, taking his total annual remuneration to above £2m.’
We also read that, in total, the English companies made £2 billion in profits, paid out £1.4 billion to their shareholders, created a web of offshore holding companies to avoid tax and paid their executives ‘beyond the dreams’ of other public service employees.
In contrast, state-owned Scottish water did none of the above, is the most trusted in UK and in 99.91% of tests at taps, recorded ‘high quality water’.
It’s just as well we have Richard Leonard to keep us focused.