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19 June 2003

Tories call for wholly privatised Scottish Water - UNISON

UNISON has issued a briefing to Scotland's MSP's calling for Scotland's Parliament to reject the Scottish Tories proposals of 'mutualisation' of Scotland's Water today (Thursday 19).

The union, who are the largest in Scottish Water, says that the proposals are a token representation for customers on a board overseeing a wholly privatised Scottish Water.

Dave Watson Scottish Organiser for Utilities said "Mutualisation is simply a smokescreen for privatisation. Any mutual body would be owned in effect by the financial institutions who provide the capital funds. They would insist on all services being provided by private contractors - as currently happens in Welsh Water."

The union says that right wing commentators are using rising water prices to make calls for privatisation. Whilst there are problems with price rises these are largely due to unrealistic targets set both by Scottish Water itself, false comparison's with the English Water Industry, and by the Water Industry Commissioner who wants investment to be funded by customer charges.

Dave Watson says "The coalition agreement reflects Scottish people's continual rejection of privatisation. And we would call for the Parliament to reject the private sector's aim to profit from this essential public service.


Note for Editors: The full briefing will be available on the UNISON Scotland website. http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/water/waterbrief.html, from Thursday morning. For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser - Local Govt) - 0845 355 0845(o) 07787 558 410(m)