In the News

Privatised water corporations have paid £57 billion in dividends since 1991

Graham Watson

3rd July 2020

Since privatisation in 1991, water companies have paid shareholders nearly £2bn per year in dividends.

Privatisation is always an emotive topic - and it's easy to see why in this instance.

Critics would suggest that this is £2bn of economic welfare that could have gone to every taxpayer, in the form of a higher quality of service and lower water bills, rather than enriching shareholders.

However, the flipside of this is that arguably the private companies have generated substantial efficiency gains, and invested heavily in infrastructure. This argument is somewhat discredited by the latest Environment Agency report which suggests that these companies have consistently ignored their environmental obligations.

So, is the case for privatisation a strong one? Or is there more of an argument for renationalising water companies? If you side with the latter,

Graham Watson

Graham Watson has taught Economics for over twenty years. He contributes to Tutor2U, reads voraciously and is interested in all aspects of Teaching and Learning.

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