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Date 30 November 2005

Water targets will mean flooding and pollution

UNISON ­ the main union representing Scotland's water staff ­ today (Wednesday) warned that the investment targets announced by the Water Industry Commission(WIC), can only lead to inadequate infrastructure investment and lead to poor-quality construction that will not last.

In many areas no renewal of old infrastructure will be able to be made. UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Utilities, Dave Watson said, "Today's announcement demonstrates the huge gap between those who build and maintain Scotland's water and sewage system and the WIC's economists, who have largely imported their ideas from the very different, privatised system south of the border.

"We warned Ministers when they announced the strategic direction in June that massive investment, over a short timescale, with no real charge increase, was a 'magic circle' that any sensible person could see could not be achieved.

"The result of that folly can be seen today. The consequences will be an increase in internal flooding, sewer collapse and the risk of pollution."

The unions have already commissioned a study of the WIC's methods that has found their comparisons with England and Wales misleading and false.

"These cloud-cuckoo economists are trying to square the circle by cutting investment." said Dave.

"This will only deliver short-life assets of poor quality and leave yawning gaps in provision. Scottish Water has already made efficiency savings faster than the privatised industry in England, and is already having to go through further increases in charges to pay for this short-term view that is now being imported to Scotland.

"The real agenda behind todayıs announcement is a further effort to undermine the Scottish public service model and privatise Scotland's water."

ENDS

For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser - Utilities) 0845 355 0845 (w) 07958 122 409 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)

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