Commenting on the near collapse of Thames Water and suggestions that ministers are considering bringing the company back under public ownership temporarily, UNISON head of environment Donna Rowe-Merriman said:
“The regulator has been asleep at the wheel. The owners of Thames Water have borrowed billions, yet downed every drop of profit, racked up gigantic debts and rewarded the poor performance of senior directors with huge salaries.
“Thames Water is meant to be delivering a vital public service. Instead, its reckless behaviour has led to regular sewage releases that pollute rivers, lakes and seas, kill wildlife, endanger public health and cause lasting environmental damage.
“And while shareholders enjoy substantial dividends, consumers face relentless increases in their water bills.
“Profits should have no place in public services. A short-term fix to bail out Thames Water won’t be enough. The government should restore the water companies to public ownership for the good of everyone.”
Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.