Saturday, July 02, 2011

Scottish Water is unique*

Over at EUReferendum, Richard points out that Scottish Water's bosses have decided to award themselves massive bonuses.
For sure, the latest dose of corporate greed doesn't help, when you see five directors of the publicly owned Scottish Water sharing in a one-off bonus pay-out of more than £450,000 for "meeting performance targets".

Chief executive Richard Ackroyd was handed £78,900 as part of the deal, meaning he took home £420,000 in total last year. Finance chief Douglas Millican and "asset management director" Geoff Aitkenhead both got bonuses of £103,000 to top up their total pay of £230,000.

Yet a spokeswoman for Scottish Water insists that the business is "unique" and that the salaries were below those of directors at water firms south of the Border. So that's alright then?

Actually, Scottish Water is unique, so far as I know.


Well, in most places in the UK, one pays a fixed bill for one's water and sewerage (mine is currently about £320 per year)—unless, of course, you are metered. It's very true that one doesn't have an awful lot of choice in one's supplier, but at least the bill is there in front of you.

In Scotland, however, the only supplier is, of course, Scottish Water but, more egregiously, the water rates are included in your Council Tax bill. That's right, Scottish Power not only have the entire power of government behind their bill collection, but they do not even have to make the effort to collect their payment from the consumers themselves.

This leads of course, to a particular loathing of students in large university towns (and most towns or cities in Scotland have a hefty student to resident ratio) because, of course, students do not pay Council Tax.

Edinburgh, for instance, has a population of 477,660: the University of Edinburgh alone has 28,394 students, or about 6%. If you add in Heriot Watt (10,225) and Napier (17,605) then you are at some getting on for 12% of the population using water but not paying for it (and I haven't included the one or two smaller institutions).

As long-time readers will know, your humble Devil lived in Edinburgh for ten years, and it almost goes without saying that the water part of my Council tax went up extremely rapidly: indeed, I remember one year in which the water precept went up by 18%!

So, yes, Scottish Water are pretty unique: but only in that they are able to rape the Scottish taxpayer in a way not open to their brethren south of the border...

* So far as I know, this payment system does not exist elsewhere in the UK.


JuliaM said...

Well, I'm sure all the students are taking advantage of their free water by being the cleanest, most-showered students in the UK, right..?

Anonymous said...

I'm a student in London and I've never paid for water directly either. It's always been included in my rent. Since I'm not metered I don't care and use as much as I want, and this would be true whether someone is paying 0 per month or 100 per month.

wonkotsane said...

What do you expect in a Marxist shit hole like North Britain?

Anonymous said...


Are you actually retarded or are you just really good at pretending?


They will soon be paying,once the marvellously patriotic shareholders sell out to the chinese,who i suspect would like scottish water because unlike thier own it does not have dead animals and deadly toxins in it,and what could possibly be wrong with selling a necessety of life to a potentially hostile foreign power.The takeover begins.

Ed P said...

Scottish Water have trumped Jesus - they are turning water into not wine but gold. Tossers

Woodsy42 said...

"* So far as I know, this payment system does not exist elsewhere in the UK."

But it used to, in the pre poll tax days when we paid rates water was included (because way back it was originally supplied by the council as a local service). It was separated out so the water supply system could be privatised.
Look at your council tax bill now and you will see how police and 999 services are being eased away.

mojo said...

Bear Wizz Beer: "It's in the water. That's why it's yellow."

Led said...

I understand you're point. But I do offer a different point of view as I actually condone a vaguely similar plan.

Why pay income tax, VAT, council tax, water payments, electricity payments in different payments?

5 sets of accounting procedures, 5 sets of overheads, 5 sets of debt collectors, 5 posted bills, 5 final reminders.

Replace it with one bill, easily viewable, easily monitored. The citizens know how much they are 'charged'

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