The Government has no plans to bring water into public ownership.
Since privatisation, the private water sector model has unlocked more than £150 billion of investment. This is equivalent to around £5 billion annually in investment and has delivered a range of benefits to customers and the environment.
The Government considers that the private model, supported by strong economic regulation, generates investment, protects consumers, and provides a stable framework for companies and investors. Ofwat, the independent regulator, protects the interests of consumers by controlling prices, making sure water companies carry out their statutory functions and are financially resilient, as well as holding them to account on overall performance and the delivery of essential services.
Holding a monopoly licence to provide these services is a privilege and the Government and regulators have high expectations of the corporate and financial behaviours of owners and investors.
Fully supported by the Government, Ofwat introduced reforms to financial and corporate practices delivered through the 2019 price review, which require water companies to:
These reforms strengthen the private model and provide better outcomes for customers.