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For the last 6 months I have been working on a report on how water bills are unnecessarily high leading to losses of billions of pounds for consumers. 

In a time of austerity when many people on normal incomes are suffering water companies are making profits of up to 25% a year selling a product which we all need for our survival. Water is a monopoly, there is no way of changing supplier - we have to pay.

I started looking at this industry when I was working for Simon Hughes MP and we discovered that our largest water companies, despite making hundreds of millions of pounds of profits each year were paying little or no tax. 

My report, published by Centre Forum demonstrates how water companies have been able to pay out mega dividends, funded by huge loans and all at your expense. 

Worse still, there are allegations of widespread tax avoidance and there is very little public accountability. Most of our largest companies are owned by private equity funds and there are no public meetings where management can be held to account. The ownership structures are murky to say the least with strings of companies dotted around the world’s island secrecy jurisdictions. This makes it difficult for the public to know what is going on with its water suppliers. 

It is now time to bring some accountability to the water industry. I am calling for a Parliamentary inquiry into profits in the water industry. Where they came from, where they went, and what can be done to lower water bills in the future.

It is time for the well healed owners of our water industry to get out of the trough. 

Photo by chrisjfry 

Letter to
EFRA Anne McIntosh MP
We all need water. It is one of the few things we can not do without. But anyone that looks at the water industry today will find it hard to believe that it is being managed responsibly.

There are allegations of widespread tax avoidance. The level of corporate borrowing is becoming unsustainable. The ownership structures are murky to say the least with strings of companies dotted around the world’s island secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens. This makes it difficult for the public to know what is going on with its water suppliers.

Worse still, in a time of austerity when many people on normal incomes are suffering water companies are making profits of up to 25% a year selling a product which we all need for our survival. Water is a monopoly, there is no way of changing supplier - we have to pay.

The Consumer Council for Water has argued for companies to give back some of the unexpected profits they have made over the last few years and Jonson Cox the Chairman of Ofwat has said "It is a great shame that we have had to point out the disparity between the current returns enjoyed by owners and a tough time for customers."

It is now time to bring some accountability to the water industry. I am writing to request that the parliamentary select committee on Environment Food and Rural Affairs holds an inquiry into profits in the water industry and how they have been spent. This must include looking at the profits we cant see - including the increase in share prices of privately owned companies based offshore.