Consumers are not given choice

REGARDING your article on Southern Water in the Observer (October 11), privatisation was supposed to be about ‘competition’ and ‘choice’ which would benefit the consumer.

But when it comes to water there is no competition and we have no choice, which makes privatisation of the water industry the most outrageous one of all of the Thatcher privatisations as it doesn’t ‘do what it says on the tin’ and is merely a privatised monopoly which benefits a relatively few shareholders and directors rather than consumers.

It is time water was brought back into public ownership so that the hundreds of millions of pounds of profits being made by the water industry (e.g. £129 million for Southern Water in 2009-10) could be re-directed into holding down prices for consumers i.e. all of us.

One of the reasons that Southern Water has been named as ‘the worst in the country’ is because its first allegiance is to its shareholders rather than consumers.

Water companies always claim that price rises are necessary to fund ‘investment’ and yet, after 25 years or so, we are still hearing horror stories of massive leakages and polluted sea water while shareholders and directors line their pockets, and the company announces rises of eight per cent plus while many consumers are suffering pay freezes and unemployment.

How anyone can claim that privatisation of the water industry ‘benefits the consumer’ is beyond me, given these facts.

D ROBERTS

Roundwood Road

St Leonards