Steve Pound has backed the campaign to end the privatisation of England’s water. He was among a group of MPs to join a photo call in parliament with campaign group We Own It which called for water to be brought into public ownership.
The event coincided with the launch of We Own It’s People’s Plan for Water – a crowdsourced manifesto that summarises what public ownership could look like and what it could achieve. The launch comes in the same week that marked the thirtieth anniversary of water privatisation in England and Wales, and comes after recent revelations that the CEOs of private water companies have earnt £70 million in salary, bonuses, and other remuneration in the past six years.
We Own It argues that bringing England’s water companies into public ownership would save £2.3 billion every year. They also claim that this could save people around £100 a year on bills.
The People’s Plan for Water calls for:
- Water in the UK to be run in the public sector, with any profits reinvested into the service, rather than going to shareholders.
- Money currently used to pay shareholder dividends to also be used to reduce bills – to the tune of up to £100 a year per household.
- Democratic involvement of the public in the water sector, including elected representatives sitting on publicly owned regional water boards, transparent finances and open forums for the public to feed into decision making.
- Giving publicly owned water companies a new public and environmental purpose – to drastically cut water leaks and curb the high levels of pollution currently effecting rivers, lakes and the coastline.
- Creating a public right to water, including through investing in public water fountains across cities – as has been done in Paris.
Ellen Lees, Campaigns Officer at We Own It said:
“We’re thrilled that so many MPs, including Steve Pound have today affirmed their commitment to publicly owned water.
“For thirty long years, we’ve suffered under the tyranny of Thatcher’s water privatisation, which has led to a 40% real terms increase in bills, CEOs and shareholders pocketing millions, and private water companies polluting our rivers.
“Enough is enough. The public are absolutely clear. 83 per cent of us want to see water in public ownership. Our People’s Plan for water sets out why this is so important, and sets a blueprint for what can be achieved when we own it.”
Steve Pound’s backing comes after We Own It organised a series of demonstrations outside water company HQs on Saturday 6 July. A group of Thames Water customers demonstrated outside the company’s headquarters in Reading – telling the company that “time’s up” on privatisation.