Date: 21 Feb 2008
Water 'mutualisation' would mean higher charges - UNISON
UNISON, the largest union representing Scotland's water and sewage
workers have told MSPs that the call for 'mutualisation' of Scotland's
Water Industry, contained in a motion by Derek Brownlee MSP to be
debated in the Parliament today, was 'crazy' especially with the
current state of the banking industry.
The union says that so-called 'mutualisation' - promoted by the
Tories, the business sector and the Liberals - is simply a smokescreen
The union has released a briefing to MSP's in advance of today's
debate, which points out that the likely source of investment in
any 'mutual' company would be the banks.
More expensive borrowing on the private market, and the need to
provide a profit to private investors, would inevitably mean increased
costs which would be passed on to customers in the form of higher
charges. The banks and private companies would also insist that
services should be provided by private contractors.
UNISON's Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said: "This debate is another
attempt by the Tories to promote water privatisation by handing
over a vital public service to the banks and private water companies.
Crazy at the best of times but during a credit squeeze it is sheer
"Scotland's water and wastewater infrastructure is being overhauled
and that requires considerable investment. To borrow that money
at expensive interest rates and allow private companies to extract
further profits would add hugely to water charges. All around the
world communities are rejecting water privatisation yet here the
Tories are promoting it."
UNISON, along with the STUC and the other unions involved in the
water industry have been engaged in the debate about the future
of Scottish Water, and believe that there should be greater democratisation
of the service. They have produced a discussion paper It's Scotland's
Water that outlines some ways to allow greater accountability for
Scottish Water, and how important the service is for public health
and socio-economic development.
Note for Editors: the
MSP briefing is available by clicking here, and the STUC discussion
paper is available on the UNISON website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/water/scotland's_water.pdf
For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish
Organiser) 0870 7777 006 (w) 07958 122 409 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications
Officer) 0870 7777 006(w) 0771 558 3729(m)