Wrong question

England’s water: is the privatised model a fair system?
Kate Bayliss

There follows much muttering about is it fair that shareholders get dividends and so on. Which is the wrong question. The correct one is:

England’s water: is the privatised model an efficient system?

Now, 10 years after privatisation OfWat did just that, looked at the efficiency of the four different water settlements. England had fully private – but regulated – companies. Wales a social company owned by the 200 Great and Good. Scotland a state owned water company, NI remained with the local councils. Efficiency was measure on three grounds, price rises, increases in water quality from the taps, reductions in water pollution from the outflows.

In order of great efficiency, England, Wales, Scotland, NI.

Perhaps we should run that test again. I don’t in fact mind what the answer is – but I do insist that it’s at least one of the important questions to be asking. The reason I don’t mind what the answer is is that I’m not wedded to any particular structure for the economy – other than that we pursue efficiency.

5 thoughts on “Wrong question”

  1. I used to have a colleague who one day went on a super-rant about the evil of privatising the water companies. I pointed out that he’d lived most of his adult life in Cambridge where the water company had always been private.

    My argument was effective – it must have been at least a month before he went off on another rant to the same effect.

    I concluded, once again, that socialism makes you stupid.

  2. Company obtains spending money from people. Company pays those people for the use of the money. Screams abound. How *DARE* people get any benefit from providing resources to other people, they should hand them over and never receive anything in return.

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