Water UK: Labour re-nationalisation plans could seriously damage water services

The Labour Party’s plan to return water companies to public hands could seriously damage the provision and quality of water and sewerage services in England, according to Water UK.

Responding to the Party’s Democratic Public Ownership and Clear Water papers, the trade body said the proposals:

  • could create a future where decisions are driven primarily by short term political expediency rather than the needs of customers;

  • mean the high levels of investment needed to improve services, enhance the natural environment and protect resources for the future are not sustained;

  • stop far short of explaining how the big challenges faced by the water and sewerage industry – like climate change and an increasing population – would be addressed by its substantial reorganisation of structures and ownership; and

  • make no attempt to acknowledge the many improvements made since privatisation in 1989 – let alone the further benefits, such as falling bills, improved services, and increased investment that companies have set out for future years.

Water UK commented: “The result of these plans would harm customers, pensioners, the environment, and the economy. They could also create an unwelcome and unnecessary diversion of attention and funds from other critical government priorities. Alternatively – as experienced previously – the water and sewerage service would lose out on government funding to areas deemed by Ministers to be a higher priority.”