Anglian Water 85% owned by foreign companies, union study shows

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THIRTY years on from privatisation it’s a scandal the water that falls from England’s skies is now overwhelmingly owned by overseas profiteers, says GMB Union

Shock findings by GMB, the union for water industry workers, show 85% of Anglian Water is currently owned from overseas.

The whole of the private water company is owned by shareholders in Canada and Australia, as follows:

33% owned by a pension fund in Canada
32% owned by Commonwealth Bank, in Australia
20% owned by pension funds in Australia [1]
GMB said the revelations showed the need to end the scandal of water privatisation – and called on Environment Secretary Michael Gove to put water back in public hands.

The figures come from a new investigation into company accounts as part of GMB’s Take Back the Tap Campaign. [2]

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has pledged to end the profiteering of privatised water and set up a new publicly owned water system that puts control back in the hands of the people.

In recent months, GMB investigations into England’s nine privatised water companies have revealed the following:

Dividends worth £6.5 billion were paid out to shareholders in the past five years, with £1.4 billion paid out in 2017 alone. [3]
2.4 billion litres of water is wasted through leaks every single day in England. [4]
CEOs of the nine privatised water company trousered a whopping £58 million in salary, bonuses, pensions and other benefits over the past five years. [5]
While shareholders pocketed these eye-watering sums, consumer water bills in England and Wales have increased by 40% above inflation since privatisation in 1989 according to a report by the National Audit Office [6]
Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said:

“As we approach 30th anniversary of the failed experiment of water privatisation, it is clearly time to return England’s water services to public hands.

“It is a scandal that the water that falls from England’s skies is in fact now overwhelmingly owned by overseas profiteers.
“Every time we turn on the tap, big businesses around the globe are making money at our expense. The spivs and speculators must be laughing at us as they make billions in profits while our water bills go up and leakages go unfixed.

“This is yet another damning example of a failed privatisation and Labour are right to promise to take action. GMB is campaigning to Take Back the Tap and return England’s water to its rightful owners – the public.”

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