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Water leaks since 2010 'would fill Loch Ness'

THE LOSS of water through leaks in “crumbling” supply pipes since 2010 is greater than the total volume of Loch Ness, Labour analysis reveals today.

A fifth of total potential water supply is wasted through leakages before it reaches people’s homes. Over 7.5 trillion litres was lost between 2010 and 2017.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is visiting the Abbey Pumping Station museum in Leicester today, where he will criticise the privatised water industry’s lack of investment in supply infrastructure.

His party’s analysis of Ofwat figures reveals that since privatisation, the value of water companies for shareholders has almost quadrupled.

The regulatory capital value of water firms stood at £16.9 billion in 1990-91 but rose to £63.8bn in 2016-17, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

But companies are continuing to cut investment in infrastructure to lower than it was in 1990.

At the same time, household bills rose by 40 per cent in real terms between 1989 and 2015, according to statistics from the National Audit Office.

Speaking ahead of his visit, Mr Corbyn said: “Water should be provided for public good, not private profit.

“Thanks to the failures of privatised water companies, our water infrastructure is crumbling and people are forced to pay through the nose for services.
 
“Under Labour’s plans to bring our water system into public ownership, profits will be reinvested so that households across the UK have better services and lower bills.”
 
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey pointed out that consumers are stuck with just one potential supplier because the companies hold regional monopolies. 

“Labour will replace this dysfunctional system with a network of regional, publicly owned water companies,” she pledged.

“Surplus profits will be reinvested in improving vital infrastructure and reducing customer bills.”

Lamiat Sabin is the Morning Star’s Parliamentary Reporter.

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