RISE - Scotland's Left Alliance, opposes the privatisation of Scotland's public water supplies, and is preparing a campaign to get socialist MSPs elected to stand up for public ownership.
Water services worth £350m over four years are to be transferred to Anglian Water. Anglian Water is no stranger to controversy. It is a tax avoider and polluter with a record of corporate greed over employees pay and conditions.
The Scottish Government chose their private sector bid for water services in schools, hospitals and public buildings over Business Stream, the publicly owned subsidiary of Scottish Water.
Last week we released a special report on how Scottish water supplies can very easily be kept in public ownership. (1)
This report found:
- EU law doesn’t force the Scottish Government to make procurement decisions on cost grounds alone. Social and environmental grounds can equally apply;
- On social and environmental grounds, the winning contractor, Anglian Water, is a deeply dubious option;
- Having consulted academic legal advice, we thus find that EU law is no constraint on the Government’s decision, even if Anglian were the lowest bidder;
- The Government’s other claim is that they are constrained by Labour’s 2005 Act mandating the privatisation of non-domestic water;
- But the SNP has been in partial power since 2007 and essentially in full power since 2011: the Act could have been repealed on any number of occasions;
- Therefore, we find that the Scottish Government was not really constrained to make this privatisation. We need Holyrood representation that will consistently and coherently oppose privatisation and bring key utilities into public hands.
It has now been discovered that in addition to these findings, Business Stream came out on top in the tendering process for quality of service. It is becoming clear that the case for the privatisation of water services being a decision based on constraints outwith the control of the Scottish Government has no basis in reality. (2)
Our report outlines a full alternative to this privatisation and challenge the Scottish Government to open the books on the points awarded to Anglian Water versus Business Stream. The privatisation includes the NHS, Scottish Parliament and council buildings.