Scottish Water delivers again as a public service

Water charges in Scotland will increase by 1.6%, which is about £6 a year for the average household. This means the average Scottish Water household charge in 2015/16 will be £346.

Scottish Water, a public corporation, not the ‘company’ it keeps describing itself as, said that since 2009 its charges have reduced by 10% relative to the rate of inflation and are within price limits set by the regulator.

Charges pay for a £3.5 billion investment programme over the next six years which will further improve drinking water quality, protect the environment and support the economy and jobs in the construction sector.

Scottish Water chief executive Douglas Millican said: “Scottish Water continues to provide one of the UK’s best-value water and waste water services. Today’s announcement signals stability in water charges for the coming years and provides certainty for customers. Charges allow us to maintain investment – ensuring we continue to provide fresh, clearer drinking water for our customers while protecting and enhancing the environment and supporting the Scottish economy.

“It means that, by 2021, household bills will have fallen further in real terms – which is good news for customers the length and breadth of Scotland.”

Overall, in the six-year period from 2015-16 to 2020-21, Scottish Water charges must increase by no more than 1.8% below the CPI rate of inflation.

The capital programme helps provide clean drinking water and safely dispose of wastewater. A cause not helped by distilleries and golf courses who have been breaking environmental rules on water extraction as highlighted by Rob Edwards in the Sunday Herald.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has condemned the performance of distilleries and golf courses across the country as “poor” because they have broken the rules by taking more water than permitted. Farmers and other businesses have also come under fire. Sepa has further criticised more than 200 operators for failing to say how much water they used. They include more farmers, golf courses and distilleries as well as Edinburgh Zoo, Scone Palace in Perth and the US property tycoon Donald Trump.

So, Scottish Water remains a good example of what public service can achieve without the need to feed the profit motive. It’s just a pity they always want to hide their public service identity.



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