Water Supply

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 19th July 2021.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislation to (a) end the private monopoly in water and (b) bring water into public ownership.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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:

  • share any benefits of higher levels of debt with customers;
  • increase financial resilience; and
  • be transparent about how executive performance pay and dividends relate to services for customers.

These reforms strengthen the private model and provide better outcomes for customers.

Does this answer the above question?

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No0 people think not

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