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Alex Sobel Calls for Public Ownership of English Water

Alex Sobel has used an Early Day Motion in Parliament to call for the public ownership of water.

The EDM, which has gathered 18 Parliamentary signatures, as well as five co-sponsors compared English bills to their publicly owned Scottish counterparts. It noted that the model saved Scottish bill payers £42 per year on average. At the same time private water shareholders have seen £56 billion in dividends, funded through £51bn of debt, the cost of which is passed down to the consumer.

The full motion says, That this House recognises the great strength of public anger at the behaviour of England's private water companies; notes that contrary to the claims of the water industry, a recent paper published by Greenwich University's Public Services International Research Unit has found that private water shareholders have benefited from £56 billion in dividends, funded through £51 billion of debt, which customers are paying for through their bills, and that private funding is not necessary to cover the English companies' operating costs, interest and capital investment; congratulates the publicly owned Scottish Water on its successful operation for the last 16 years, and for saving their customers £42 per year on average compared to English bills; recognises the sustained campaign for public ownership of water headed by We Own It and backed by Compass, GMB, Unite, UNISON,

the New Economics Foundation and the Transnational Institute this past summer; further recognises the potential for a publicly owned water industry in the UK to reduce bills, leaks and pollution, and to improve our cities and waterways; eagerly anticipates modern, democratic and participatory public ownership of public services; and calls on the Government to bring the English water companies into public ownership as soon as possible.

Note to Editors

More information about the motion can be found here:

More information about the ‘we own it’ campaign can be found here:


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