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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 January 2016

Water firms' 1.2bn in profit off human need

Laurel Fogarty

By overcharging customers, private water companies in the UK have raked in profits of over 1.2 billion over the last five years.

Ofwat, the water company regulator, consistently overestimated suppliers' costs when setting price limits, allowing them to trump up water bills. This increase has hit the poorest households hardest.

Water bills now cost up to 5.3% of the annual income of a low-earning household, compared to 2.3% in better off households. In the UK, water prices have risen 40% above inflation since privatisation in 1989. The dire effects of privatising the water supply, one of our most basic human necessities, are clear.

The effects of swingeing funding cuts to municipally run water systems in other parts of the world are also grave. As ordinary people in the UK are overcharged by greedy corporations, ordinary people in Flint, Michigan in the United States are dying.

Lead poisoning, headaches - and an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that has killed ten members of the public. This happened after an unelected official switched the city's water supply to the polluted Flint River to save money.

Abuses

These abuses highlight the crucial importance of taking the necessities of life into public ownership. They also show the need for democratic planning for the good of society, not corporate profits.

In Ireland, a mass campaign against the attempted introduction of water charges is being led by the Socialist Party. Over 57% of the country has boycotted water bills as elections loom.

When workers mobilise behind clear socialist demands, we can win results.

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In The Socialist 20 January 2016:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Unite the fightback: Coordinated strikes needed

United workers' action can save NHS

Water firms' 1.2bn in profit off human need

Political policing: Met spy targeted socialists

Trident debate: socialist programme needed

Housing crisis reaches level of 1960s

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Outrageous attacks on Corbyn for 'sexism'

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1986 Wapping strike - Defeat of the print unions


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

People's Budget meeting success

Carmarthenshire Unison campaigns against council cuts

Unite the Union local government committee votes for no-cuts budgets

Preparing a no-cuts people's budget

Momentum and democracy in Hackney and beyond

Angry Labour meeting puts councillors under fire

Gateshead carers oppose respite centre closures

Celebrating Eleanor Marx's birthday


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Tube workers to strike again to defend jobs and conditions

Reinstatement victory for John Vasey

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International socialist news and analysis

USA: Fight the billionaire class!

China: Financial turmoil spreads fear across global markets

Northern Ireland: Defy anti-abortion laws


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Letters to the Socialist


 

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