Labour to get tough on water companies if it wins election
The Labour Party will create a compulsory national affordability scheme as well as give Ofwat new regulatory powers to modify water company licence terms if it wins the General Election next year.
Speaking at this week's Labour Party conference in Manchester, shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle said: "We will reform the industry, creating a national affordability scheme ─ compulsory for all water companies ─ to help people struggling to pay their bills wherever they live in the UK."
She added: "One in five households struggling to pay their water bill - but the companies get to choose whether they help customers who can’t afford to pay."
Eagle told the conference that water company licences had "largely unchanged" since the water sector's privatisation 25 years ago. "But times have changed along with company structures and ownership and we are seeing increasingly exploitative behaviour by some.
"It’s not right under these circumstances that licenses can’t be reformed. Under a Labour government that will change."
Eagle hit out at the water companies' profit levels last year, with £1.8B paid in dividends to shareholders "and only £74M in tax". She accused prime minister David Cameron of allowing the water companies "to simply siphon money off year after year after year".
She said: "We need a new deal with the water companies and Labour will deliver it ─ focused on affordability and fairness for all."
- EA calls for stronger catchment and flood partnerships The water sector's environmental regulator, the Environment Agency (EA), has set out the actions it wants to see from... Read More >
- NAO slams Ofwat for allowing multi-million pound windfall Water company finances are set to re-enter the national spotlight this week with the National Audit Office (NAO) slamming... Read More >
- Campaign to raise water law awareness for plumbing work The Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS), WaterSafe and UK water companies have launched a campaign urging anyone... Read More >
- Experts to discuss the future of the Scottish water sector Senior leaders from Scottish Water, the Scottish Government, the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) and other... Read More >
- Air Quality and the MCPD: Something in the Air Air quality regulations that come into force next year are making water and wastewater companies reconsider the role of... Read More >
- Plastic pollution – what was the tipping point? Despite years of research, news stories concerning plastics and the pollution of the marine and water environment have... Read More >
- New direction: Is the industry ready for direct procurement? Ofwat's continued aim to drive efficiency and value for customers will see the introduction of a new direct procurement... Read More >
- Analysis: Assessing lane rental's pros and cons While lane rental may be popular with many, Robin Hackett hears why the majority of utilities and contractors are fiercely... Read More >