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Money Down the Drain – remind you of anyone?

Save KEMP was pleased to get an email from George Turner about a report he has published about the water industry entitled ”Water Down the Drain: Getting a better deal for consumers from the water industry”. This is now required reading for everyone at Save KEMP HQ. 

You may well already have read the national press coverage of this issue (see links below). 

None of us will be surprised that Thames ‘We Want To Trash Your Park And Charge You For The Privilege’ Water and their cash generating super sewer get more than a passing mention in the report. Here is one quote:

“The situation has come to a head with Thames Water, which has come
to the government asking for support to build its super sewer through
London. Despite making very healthy profits for a number of years the
company is financially too weak to carry out the project alone.”

And if you are wondering what ‘the situation’ is try combining these phrases into a sentence – ‘widespread tax avoidance’, ‘very little public accountability’, ‘difficult for the public to know what is going on with its water suppliers’. Oh and you will need ‘Thames Water’ too! 

To read the report you can pop over to the CentreForum website and download it for yourself.

Here is George’s letter in full: 

“Today I published “Water Down the Drain: Getting a better deal for consumers from the water industry” with Centre Forum. The paper tells the story of how private equity investors have for years stripped out equity from the water industry to create very high profits in the short term but have left the companies financially very weak. The result is that they are now coming to the government to ask for help in financing their investments, and have made it more difficult for the regulator to cut prices in the future. 

The report has been backed by the former regulator of the water industry Sir Ian Byatt and was widely covered in today’s press (see below). A question was also asked to the Prime Minister today about the issue at PMQs. As you can imagine I am particularly pleased with the coverage in Water and Wastewater Treatment as this means the report may now feature on Have I got News for You. 

The full report and media release can be downloaded here: http://www.centreforum.org/index.php/mainpublications/505-money-down-the-drain

 I have also now started a petition on change.org to call for a parliamentary inquiry into profits in the water industry which is here: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-parliamentary-select-committee-on-environment-food-and-rural-affairs-hold-an-inquiry-into-profits-in-the-water-industry

I would be really grateful if you could sign my petition, and send it round your networks. If you are into tweeting, I would be really grateful if you would tweet about it too.

Any comments on the paper gratefully received too.

With best wishes,

George”

Nice work George!

The Guardian, ‘Former regulator attacks water firms over windfall profits and high prices’, Simon Bowers, 17 July 2013

The Independent, ‘Water companies told to stop siphoning off cash to foreign owners’, Oliver Wright, 17 July 2013

Daily Mirror, ‘Water companies should cut bills, not reward shareholders, urges former Ofwat chief’, Graham Hiscott, 17 July 2013

Daily Telegraph, ‘Water firms that pay excess dividends should be forced to cut prices, says former Ofwat chief’, Emily Gosden, 17 July 2013

The Times, ‘Water companies take money from customers to pay their investors’, Michael Savage, 17 July 2013

Water and Wastewater Treatment, ‘Think tank calls for levy on overleveraged water firms’, Maureen Gaines, 17 July 2013

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