February 10, 2005

SOCIALISM WORKED SO WELL ELSEWHERE...:

Privatise water - or Scotland will go broke (PETER MACMAHON, 2/10/05, The Scotsman)

THE Executive’s pledge to keep Scottish Water in public hands suffers a setback today with a warning from a Labour former environment minister that privatisation is inevitable.

Sam Galbraith writes in today’s Scotsman that, under the Barnett spending formula, Scotland is "slowly going broke". He adds: "The only way to solve this is to reduce the public-sector wage bill. Privatise water and at a stroke the bill is cut."

His intervention comes the day after the Executive’s Water Services Bill, which aims to retain Scottish Water as a state-owned company and the sole provider of services to households, was passed at Holyrood.

Ross Finnie, Mr Galbraith’s Liberal Democrat successor as environment minister and Lewis Macdonald, his Labour deputy, both used yesterday’s debate to laud the benefits of keeping water in public ownership, despite it being in private hands in England.

But in a blunt message to his former colleagues Mr Galbraith, who maintains that he favours public ownership where it is possible, asks: "Is the privatisation of Scottish Water inevitable? Despite our best efforts to prevent it the economics are not looking good."

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 10, 2005 8:06 AM
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