No compensation for water shareholders when we take back our water

No compensation?

3 August 2018

This week, United Utilities backed down on their decision to impose a hosepipe ban on millions of their customers. Great news! However, while water companies are still wasting millions of litres of water every day through leaky pipes, there's still plenty to be concerned about.
 
Since privatisation, our water bills have increased by 40% in real terms. Our rivers and our environment have been polluted. Water companies have dodged taxes and overpaid their CEOs at the expense of everyday households. While thousands of families struggle to pay their water bill, shareholders of water companies profit. 
 
The solution is public ownership - we need to own our water! With public ownership of water, we'd cut out the shareholders and our bills would actually go towards investment in infrastructure. We'd save about £100 per household - so we’d all be better off. But how much would this cost?
 
The Social Market Foundation says that Parliament would have to pay as much as £90 billion to water shareholders when they take water into public ownership. We say that’s nonsense. Parliament can decide how much to compensate shareholders, and they could choose to pay as little as they feel is justified. 
 
The water companies have cost us billions in bills, dodged taxes, government subsidies and environmental damage. If anything, they should be compensating us!
 
Watch and share our video calling for zero compensation for water shareholders:
 
How much compensation do you think shareholders should get?
Share our video and ask your friends.

Help us reach more people by sharing the video on Youtube, Facebook or Twitter!

No compensation?

Join 30,000 people demanding public ownership

Help us win campaigns by subscribing to our mailing list! We'll hold your data in accordance with our privacy policy and send you carefully chosen information about current and future campaigns, projects and appeals. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Comments

Anonymous replied on

Water is one of life's fundamental requirements, people should not make profits from our need. It should not be a profit driven industry.

LindaBache replied on

Totallyagree.Thisiswhattoriesalwaysdowheninpower.Theyruineverything-NHS,railways,utilities,etc.Onlyinterestedinfleecingthepublic!

Barbara replied on

l agree with everything re Tory Governments selling our assets - compensation should be minimal when those companies paid to steal our wholly owned utilitities which were locally-run by us and for us. The conservative government caused ‘rip off Britain’ and it must stop before we become a wholly foreign owned island.

Art Cummins replied on

I was born before the 1945-50 Labour Government took over control of UK Water suppliers & paid compensation so from then on, we all owned our water supplies. Capitalism-promoting Tory governments under Thatcher & Major, sold off our property at bargain prices (without our specific permission in writing) to shareholder corporations & private profiteers which have drawn more than their fair share in dividends on their investments. If the re-privatised water companies had lost money since the sell-off, shareholders would probably have come crying for a bail-out from tax-payers. As water is a necessary public amenity, it should rightly be a non-profit service for public benefit, with any surplus income ploughed-back into maintenance & to improvements in structure and efficiency.

Patrick Newman replied on

I couldn't agree more. The experience of the water companies of regulation is like being assaulted by dead sheep!

Dave Wilford replied on

We should not "PAY" for "STOLEN" property!!!

Mrs Janet McCarron replied on

It is a diabolical and utterly cynical betrayal of the British people that the Conservative Govt sells out the Public to line the pockets of the totally greedy, morally bankrupt Tory cronies.

There IS NO DEMOCRACY, its a corrupt club for wealthy parasites. Taking money and delivering NOTHING.

WE OWN IT.....GAME OVER, get over it, and GET OUT.

OUR WATER AND WE OWN IT

Mike Yeadon replied on

Utilities and transport should be run for public benefit not private profit. No compensation should be paid.

Ray Beeton replied on

The water companies have been ripping us off for 29 years. Bring them back into public ownership. The claims for compensation to shareholders should be reviewed - see video.

Michael Denholm replied on

Just like Rail, Gas and Electricity, the Spivs have taken over Water. Thankfully, Scottish Water is still publicly owned - for now! The SNP-led administration have a penchant for privatisation: bus services in particular. We must keep Scottish Water in public hands and return the rest of the UK's utilities to public ownership.

Doug Troup replied on

Renationalisation must be without any compensation. Shareholders have taken billions out of the industry.

Jacqueline ARMSHAW replied on

How can you privatise a company that belongs to the people

Mike Bellion replied on

No amount of argument can explain why a public water supply should be in private hands. The private economic model does not lend its self to a basic utility. If, after 30 years, the shareholders are still failing then only one thing can be said...., "If you can't piss, get off the pot". Simples.

david maunder replied on

All public services should be publicly owned and administered for the public good. Profit driven private ownership is incompatible with this objective.

Alan wright replied on

We're simply returning stolen property to the public. Paying out compensation would only encourage future Tory governments to reprivatise. Owners and shareholders of privatised utilities should not get one penny of compensation when they are returned to public ownership.

KEVIN GLENNIE replied on

Like many things that should NEVER have been privatised water is a free commodity that we all built with our taxes over the years, past conservative governments saw this as a way to make people pay over and over for what they already own. Rip off Britain with yet again streets paved with gold and many promises of greater investment with the better quality of water treatment, cleaner rivers, yet many water companies are failing in the basics of river pollution often by their own hands because of underinvestment and fat cat boardroom bonuses as well as huge dividend payouts for those rich enough to have been able to invest in the carved up and sold off water utilities.

Nelia replied on

I agree, in the 1970's we were told that we would have to pay more in water rates towards the building of Kielder Dam and because of this higher rate, our future water would be free............Northumbrian Water Authority is now a private Company, owned by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings...

Anonymous replied on

Buying shares is a gamble. If you cannot afford to lose the money you pay for shares you should not buy them in the first place. Water company shareholders have had many years of profits. Water is a public infrastructure which contributes to the health and welfare of the populace it should not be a for profit industry, which is not to say it should not be run in an efficient way.

Chris Gallagher replied on

When it took 11 tonnes of publicly owned water to make a tonne of publicly owned steel or when millions of gallons of water were needed by publicly owned energy generators to make our electricity, then it was okay for us plebs to part-support large publicly owned British industries (who also paid), with our private water rates payments. Then as time saw the destruction of similar heavy water using industries the end user was less publicly owned industry, with us subsidising it, and more individuals, …. just us..... Far easier to rip off just us..... Far easier to justify pay packages and bonuses when entire heavy industries and their various government ministers and water companies no longer need to kick off at price hikes and inefficiencies.

Hugh read replied on

The industry was sold cheaply, so can be bought back cheaply. Just need to set requirements they can't afford to meet, so will beg the government to buy it back.

Robin Fielder replied on

Wikipedia says it:

England and Wales were the only countries in the world that have a fully privatised water and sewage disposal system.[6][2] In Scotland and Northern Ireland, water and sewerage services remained in public ownership. Since 2001, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, the company which supplies drinking water and wastewater services to most of Wales and parts of western England, has operated as a single purpose, not-for-profit company with no shareholders, "run solely for the benefit of customers".[7] According to The Independent, the English WSCs are now mostly owned "by private equity firms with controversial tax avoidance strategies."[8] Public opinion polling carried out in 2017 indicated that 83% of the British public favoured renationalisation of water services.[9] In the same year, research by the University of Greenwich suggested that consumers in England were paying £2.3 billion more for their water and sewerage bills per annum than they would if the water companies had remained in state ownership.[2]

Susan replied on

A cabal of greedy morally bankrupt crooks! We don’t have to pay a penny in compensation. They should be compensating the people they stole it off...that would be us!

Get rid of the lot of them and put it back into public ownership where all utilities belong!

Valerie Wilkinson replied on

One reason for privatisation was to pump money into renewing all the old pipework and sewerage system - that was the promise, but of course it didn’t happen. And it’s not going to happen, because the poor shareholders can’t afford it. Meanwhile, the old pipes are cracking up, the leakage is enormous, and our bills go up.

Water is a basic right, and should not be treated as a commodity- we have to take back control and tackle the mess we are being left with- the sooner the better.

Valerie Wilkinson replied on

One reason for privatisation was to pump money into renewing all the old pipework and sewerage system - that was the promise, but of course it didn’t happen. And it’s not going to happen, because the poor shareholders can’t afford it. Meanwhile, the old pipes are cracking up, the leakage is enormous, and our bills go up.

Water is a basic right, and should not be treated as a commodity- we have to take back control and tackle the mess we are being left with- the sooner the better.

Jan Coulthard replied on

Water is a necessity for life. Clean water is something we should all be able to afford regardless of income.We are not a third world country. Water is getting very expensive and in our area is rather gritty,and very chlorine tasting. There are leaks quite often which lose gallons.No one, no company, should own other people's basic life support. This is a national issue.If anyone doubts how much of a risk we face, read Fontamara.

Keith Baker replied on

Unfortunately some of Cats figures are not accurate. I certainly was one who did not believe in privatisation of any utility. I now work for one, I also worked for a Local Authority and I worked for a water authority pre= privatisation, so I have seen the water industry from different sides. They are generally much more efficient than they were in the 70s and 80s. True part of the run-down was due to the Tories denying public funds, and yes they were sold off very cheap, too cheap. My concern is where will the same level of investment come from to not only maintain current services but to heavily invest in improving the water industry further, especially due to global warming when water becomes a scarcer commodity? Government coffers are not going to be able to afford it, especially as they will be funding gas, water, electricity, railways etc, not to mention other privatised industries, and at the same time protect workers pensions and conditions? I personally think the re-nationalisation theme is being sold far too easily with very little detail on costs, Cats video is far too plain and simple, there will probably be many months if not years of legal wrangles and compensation claims, and believe it will not be cheap to nationalise or to keep investment high in the future. I do believe that nationalised industries can be run efficiently and make profit to be ploughed in, but I seriously doubt it will!

Lex H replied on

We pay a substantial amount for our water now and it tastes disgusting we have to use a water filter to make it drinkable.

People have been brainwashed in to buying bottled water and polluting the planet with millions of empty single use plastic bottles.

Its time to take back our water and make tap water drinkable again.

Anonymous replied on

All former nationalised companies were owned by the people not the State and nationalised companies were only ever managed by the State for the people.

Therefore privatisation is illegal as all the real owners of nationalised companies being the people were never individually consulted and never told they would be forced to pay corporate debts and massively increased bills to fund private shareholders and directors salaries.

Furthermore clean safe drinking water and waste water collection including sewerage services are human rights not privileges.

Bruce Grierson replied on

Quite right. Water, utilities, transport, communication have been exploiting the public outrageously for far too long.

I would say "Take back control" but that phrase has been hijacked for other purposes.

David Hill replied on

Water services should be remunisiplised (if that isn’t a word it should be) . Water is is as important as air for the preservation of all life forms and it should be freely available without unit cost direct to users for all essential purposes via a rate based on average use on a not for profit basis. The appalling profiteering of the privatised water companies, the lack of investment in preventing waste through leakage, on bringing new water supplies online and the huge unjustifiable annual price increases must be seen as one of the crimes of the 20th century and the perpetrators should be brought to justice. Take a look at the water services provided to the people of Northern Ireland

David Hill replied on

Water services should be remunisiplised (if that isn’t a word it should be) . Water is is as important as air for the preservation of all life forms and it should be freely available without unit cost direct to users for all essential purposes via a rate based on average use on a not for profit basis. The appalling profiteering of the privatised water companies, the lack of investment in preventing waste through leakage, on bringing new water supplies online and the huge unjustifiable annual price increases must be seen as one of the crimes of the 20th century and the perpetrators should be brought to justice. Take a look at the water services provided to the people of Northern Ireland

David Hill replied on

Water services should be remunisiplised (if that isn’t a word it should be) . Water is is as important as air for the preservation of all life forms and it should be freely available without unit cost direct to users for all essential purposes via a rate based on average use on a not for profit basis. The appalling profiteering of the privatised water companies, the lack of investment in preventing waste through leakage, on bringing new water supplies online and the huge unjustifiable annual price increases must be seen as one of the crimes of the 20th century and the perpetrators should be brought to justice. Take a look at the water services provided to the people of Northern Ireland

Jon Preston replied on

Great, informative and succinct video and glad you addressed the issue of pensions.

Yet another service paid for over decades of taxpayer toil, sold off cheaply to mates in ties, and yet we are the only country to have privatised our water.

Given that increasing numbers of people are in water poverty, defined as paying more than 3% for water services, it makes me wonder how we allowed water to be signed away.

John Hines replied on

There is no competition in the water industry therefore no need for it to be privatised.

The problem was that when services were in public hands, the government often starved them of funds when times were hard.

Siobhán replied on

Rain is free when it falls - but several Ps: phosphates, piddle, poo and prozac are not...

Rex Hora replied on

Whatever the final bill, we don't need a pile of cash to compensate shareholders. That's not the way it was done in the 1940s. Few people will now remember British Transport Stock, British Gas Stock and British Electricity Stock but these were the pieces of paper we gave shareholders of the railway, gas and electricity companies in the 1940s. No cash is required, it's just an exchange of pieces of paper.

Peter Latham replied on

Of course water should be publicly owned. Rain may be free but dams, pipelines etc are expensive to build and maintain. Today local authorities are being bankrupted as a matter of government policy, so it may not be so easy to see that councils and nationalised industries do not need to be so hard pressed. This is a political choice, not a financial requirement. Decades ago local authorities built dams and supplied water themselves, no doubt with government assistance. Sheffield has many reservoirs on the moors that in the 1960's had notices up saying SCWW for Sheffield Corporation Water Works. Manchester Corporation Water Works built Thirlmere and Haweswater reservoirs in the Lake District and Longdendale reservoirs in the Peak District. Birmingham built the Elan Valley reservoirs in Wales. Liverpool built Lake Vyrnwy. Government, both local and national can finance big projects by various means, issuing bonds or taking out long term loans at low interest rates. I believe council housing used to be financed over 60 years at something like 5% pa. The New Towns were done similarly, which incidentally made a sound financial investment. They were still making a profit when the Conservative government scrapped them in the 1980's. Why scrap a success story? Because they could let voters believe that public enterprise works. In contrast today's private bankers are looking for short term return (20 years sometimes) at rates of 15-20%. If they only receive 10% or less they may pull out. The financial system needs an overhaul based on more enlightened economic thinking than get-rich-quick. All this can be done with a better approach. It will take some time though. I agree that today's nationalisation might have to be looked at afresh to avoid previous inefficiencies.

Craig Diggins replied on

We owe these companies nothing. In fact, they owe us due to what they have stolen since the water industry was privatised. Water is one of life's necessaries. Bring it back into public ownership with no compensation.

George Hamilton replied on

Water, electricity, gas and the railway are national assets - for the many, not the few.

Richard Merriman replied on

Public ownership of water? A no brainer!! Let us strike a blow against the 'rip off' water companies and 'rip off' Tories and 'rip off' Britain... And do it soon!!

Roger Philpott replied on

Having just returned from Norway I was able to talk briefly with a Norwegian Guide about their economy much of which, including water, railways and health are under state control. Previously their government was able to invest wisely and now I'm told have 'trillions of dollars' of which I understand they are investing 4% annually in infrastructure, education and health services etc. Contrast this with the great Tory sale of British assets for short term and often foreign profit regardless of the long term consequences.

Of course things are not perfect in Norway but their socially responsible capitalism is a standing rebuke to our politicians on the right who can't bear to see state ownership that works and who given the chance will continue with more of the same. I suggest 'We Own It' makes more of the Norwegian example and invests in some in depth research so that the public can be informed that there is a much better way of doing things.

Add new comment