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Date: Thursday 29 July 2010

'Not in the public interest': UNISON calls on government to reject privatisation of Scottish Water by stealth

UNISON has called on the Scottish Government to reject the proposal to effectively privatise Scottish Water contained in the Independent Budget Review.

Gerry Crawley, Regional Organiser, said:
"The proposal to privatise Scottish Water by stealth is not acceptable - and is certainly not in the public interest. We call on the Scottish Government to reject this unwise proposal.

"The pro-privatisation sharks have been circling around Scottish Water, first proposing a different funding mechanism, then a supposedly mutual model. The latest disguise is what they call a 'public interest company' similar to Welsh Water. These are all attempts to privatise by stealth.

Gerry Crawley said:
"We certainly do not want follow the Welsh Water model as a mutual or 'public interest company'. In the capital intensive water industry, bodies like these are effectively controlled by the private financial institutions. They would insist that their risk is minimised by transferring services and jobs to English and European private water companies. That is what is happening at Welsh Water."

"Any move away from democratic control and towards private funding - including under the guise of a 'public interest company' - would actually cost us all more. The people of Scotland do not want to see profiteering from such an essential public service. It is simply not in the public interest."

Gerry Crawley said:
“Scottish Water belongs to the people. It is owned by the Scottish government for the Scottish people. This issue has already been settled by a referendum. UNISON is 100% certain that the Scottish people will reject any attempt to remove Scottish Water from democratic control."


Note for Editors:

1. UNISON’s recent briefing Defend Scotland’s Water has highlighted how the pro-privatisation sharks are circling around Scottish Water; why these vested interests want it sold off at a knock-down price; and how private finance would lead to private control. Defend Scotland’s Water is available on the UNISONScotland website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/water/defendscotlandswater_mar2010.pdf

2. UNISON, along with the STUC and the other unions involved in the water industry all believe that we should join with the worldwide movement in favour of democratisation of water. The unions have produced a discussion paper It’s Scotland’s Water outlining ways to greater accountability for Scottish Water. It is available on the UNISON website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/water/scotland's_water.pdf

For Further Information Please Contact:
Gerry Crawley, Regional Organiser 07958 121 805 (m)
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer 0141 342 2877 (o) 07908 672 890 (m)
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer 0141 342 2877 (o) 07958 063 182 (m)

Stay in touch with UNISON Scotland's latest news releases on our website http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/news/index.html and frequent updates on our blog http://unison-scotland.blogspot.com/