PROTESTORS have labelled water privatisation “a story of failure” as part of a nationwide cry for it to be brought back into public ownership.
Customers of Yorkshire Water declared “time’s up” in a demonstration outside its Bradford headquarters on Saturday.
The demonstration was part of a national day of action called ‘We Own It’ – the campaign for public ownership of public services.
‘We Own It’ argues that bringing England’s water companies into public ownership would save £2.3 billion every year.
There will be demonstrations outside most of the main nine water company HQs in England.
Ellen Lees, We Own It campaigns officer, said: “The story of water privatisation is a story of failure.
“We’ve had thirty years of rising bills, shareholders and CEOs pocketing millions, and private companies failing to fix leaks in the system.
“Yorkshire Water’s CEO earned over nine hundred thousand pounds last year.
“Now we’re speaking out and saying time’s up for private water companies that have ripped us off, polluted our rivers and allowed cash to flow straight from our bills into their shareholders’ bank accounts.
“Now we’re saying it’s time for public ownership”
The group also claims this move could save people around £100 a year on bills.
The day of action marks thirty years since water was privatised by Margaret Thatcher’s government and
Recent revelations suggest that the CEOs of private water companies have earnt £70 million in salary, bonuses, and other remuneration in the past six years.
The protest comes after the water industry was recently hit by a major scandal.
Last month Southern Water was forced to pay £126m for spilling wastewater into the environment and deliberately misreporting its performance.
The campaign officer said: “The public are absolutely clear. 83% of us want to see water in public ownership.”
Similar demonstrations took place at other water company headquarters across England.
The GMB union has its own campaign, ‘Take Back The Tap’ , which also calls for the water industry to be returned to public hands as part of its campaign.
GMB general secretary Tim Roache called water privatisation “a complete flop” ahead of the union’s annual congress.
He said: “Customers are forking out tens of millions to private water’s top brass through ever increasing bills, while billions of gallons are wasted every year and we get whacked by hosepipe bans in the summer.
“I’m not sure how much more evidence is needed to show that this is just not working,” he said.
Yorkshire Water was approached by the Telegraph & Argus for comment but declined to comment.
We Own It said: “ Enough is enough.
“It’s time to bring water into public ownership.”