26 July 2023
Fines? Not fine!
The privatised water companies in England have been receiving fines for 34 years, ever since they were privatised in 1989. And those fines have not made a blind bit of difference - they’re like water off a duck’s back.
But there is another way. Find out how we can take water into public ownership without it costing us a penny:
You can help
If you agree we should be taking shares, not issuing insignificant fines when water companies pollute, please sign our petition.
- If you care about dead fish in our rivers
- If you care about children getting ill after swimming at the beach
- If you care about our environment not being polluted by raw sewage,
You should be against fines for water companies. Here's why.
The privatised water companies in England have been receiving fines for 34 years, ever since they were privatised in 1989. And it's made absolutely not a blind bit of difference.
They carry on pouring sewage into our rivers and seas, because they would much rather not spend the money on investing in our infrastructure to tackle sewage. They would much rather give that money to shareholders. And every year, their shareholders get around £1.6bn.
So the water companies see these fines as small change. That's the cost of doing business for them. That's why fines haven't worked, and that's why we need a new system.
We Own It is launching a new campaign: Shares Not Fines. We're saying:
- if you want to pollute our rivers
- If you want to pollute our seas
- If you want to not invest in infrastructure,
then instead of being fined, we will be taking your shares from you.
We will take something the water companies actually value, that is their shares, rather than fining them in a way that they clearly don't care about.
What we'd need to implement this policy is shadow water authorities in each region ready to take the fines on behalf of the public, and ready to take over, if necessary, if water companies collapse. These authorities should be truly accountable to the public, so consumers should have a seat at the table: workers, councillors, and community and environmental groups - for example, groups like Surfers against Sewage and clean river groups - could all be part of decision making.
That would provide true accountability instead of relying on Ofwat, which has failed, and the Environment Agency which is totally underfunded.
Fines haven't worked. It's time for shares. We should take back our water companies into public ownership. That will save us money on the dividends that go out to shareholders and on the debt that will be cheaper in public ownership long term, and it's a really easy way to do that right now.
If you agree we should be taking shares, not fines when water companies pollute, please share this video.