spotCampaigns

spotOrganisations

triangleArguments for socialism

spotPeople

spotInternational

spotEvents

spotAround the UK


All keywords


All Arguments for socialism subcategories:

* Arguments for socialism

Capitalism

Globalisation Anticapitalism

Marxism


Arguments for socialism keywords:

Banking crisis (15)

Banks (291)

Clause 4 (1)

Clause four (6)

Consciousness (11)

Democracy (190)

Minimum wage (312)

Nationalisation (206)

New workers parrty (6)

Northern Rock (34)

Party funding (1)

Photographs (4)

Planning (86)

Podcasts (5)

Socialism 2007 (17)

Socialism 2008 (13)

Solidarity Scotland (1)

Solidarity (390)

The Socialist (1184)

Them & Us (25)

Trade union organisation (7)

Vaccine (16)

What we saw (38)

Workers (1914)

Workers press (1)

Working class (854)

Nationalise


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 1095, 15 July 2020: Fight for safety - stop the jobs massacre

Search site for keywords: Water - Nationalise - Privatisation

Water shortage warning: nationalise now!

Britain's privatised water infrastructure loses over 3 billion litres a day through leaks

Britain's privatised water infrastructure loses over 3 billion litres a day through leaks   (Click to enlarge)

Roger Bannister, Liverpool Socialist Party

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has expressed concern that parts of England could run out of water within 20 years. This seems a crazy situation - especially to those of us living in the North West, where water falls freely out of the sky on an all-too-frequent basis!

And crazy it is, because it is the crazy logic of capitalism that created it. Prior to 1989, water and sewage were the responsibility of ten publicly owned regional water authorities. But Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher had them in her sights for privatisation.

She started by curtailing the ability of water authorities to borrow money. This meant they were unable to maintain infrastructure - much of which dated back to the 19th century, and was in dire need of renewal.

Thatcher then posed privatisation as the 'only' way to guarantee sufficient investment. Her government sold off the regional water authorities in 1989. Since 1991, they have paid out 57 billion in dividends, funded by 48 billion in debt, which could have gone on infrastructure.

Instead of renewing the system, the new capitalist owners pursued asset-stripping to make a fast buck for shareholders. By 2006, they had sold off reservoirs to the value of around 500 million, most of them drained to make way for housing developments.

Thames Water, responsible for the rapidly expanding Greater London conurbation, sold off 24. Severn Trent Water in the industrial Midlands sold off 12 in 2011, and a further five in 2016.

Attacks on workers

At the same time, water companies embarked on a process of reducing pay and conditions for their workers. Often they introduced a two-tier workforce, where new employees were hired on worse conditions than those transferred from the old regional water authorities.

Meanwhile, water charges steadily increased. They are now over 40% higher than their pre-privatisation levels.

As well as drastically reducing storage capacity, little action was taken to upgrade the Victorian system, which was, and still is, in a state of degeneration.

So today, 20% of the water in the supply infrastructure - over 3 billion litres - leaks out on a daily basis! And the nine private water firms released raw sewage into rivers 200,000 times last year.

Rather than deal with this situation, the water companies are looking elsewhere to get water. From rivers, and in particular in the south of England, from chalk streams.

If they are allowed to do this, it would be at the cost of disaster for wildlife habitats, and possibly agriculture, which often relies on rivers and streams for irrigation.

Although the Labour Party officially has a policy of renationalising water, Sir Keir the Silent has made no pronouncement on this scandalous situation. That is not good enough.

Water should be renationalised as a matter of urgency, under the elected control of water workers and users, with no compensation to the fat cats who have brought the industry to the brink of disaster.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 







Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999