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Last Updated: Friday, 30 May, 2003, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Have Your Say: Water prices
Men looking into hole in ground
People in Scotland get poorer drinking water, more pollution from their sewers and pipes are twice as leaky, according to a report in The Economist magazine.

On top of that, water bills in Scotland are the highest in the UK, with businesses alone collectively paying 190m more than their counterparts elsewhere.

Scottish Water has responded by saying that its charges reflect a drive to upgrade the infrastructure, meet quality standards and improve efficiency.

We asked for your views on the issue. This is what you had to say.

This is a classic example of the shortfalls of public ownership. If there is no profit to be made, why bother being efficient?
Dave, UK

I wouldn't even mind but I have to run the tap for five minutes before it's even drinkable. It's an absolute disgrace. With the rainfall this country (Scotland) endures it's beyond comprehension we have to pay such an outrageous amount of money for it! I blame the politicians!
Clare Short, Glasgow

Since Scottish Water provides all water and sewage services, I'd say they had a lack of competition and can therefore charge more or less what they like. Can we not buy water and sewage services like other utilities?
Kenny Smith, Scotland

Cannot belive we're being ripped off again. Last time it was electricity/gas now, it's water. At the moment I buy bottled water as tap waters tastes awful.
Joe Rooney, Glasgow

We pay more for our electricity here than they do in the rest of the UK - and that's after privatisation. Why would water be any different?
Graham Kerr, Scotland

I'd love to have a water meter. At the moment, I live in a council tax band G flat in Glasgow, so my water rates are enormous, yet I have no garden, no car and I usually take showers! My water is probably (litre for litre) some of the most expensive anywhere! This is annoying when I can see on the street outside a water leak which has been oozing from under a manhole cover for the last three weeks!
Chris Collins

Scottish Water are the lasting legacy of the old dinosaur authority of the former Strathclyde Region Water Dept. The overstaffed and overpaid management still fail to deliver any reasonble standard of service. Don't mention this to them though - the thought the old authority was great. The problems won't go away until a "Water Czar" cuts away the dead wood and beauracracy and forces management to recognise it's a business with a customer base to please. The staff are largely to blame also; they know that the public have no where else to go with their business. They've still to learn why the "customers always right"!
Tom Shields, Scotland

My father has just retired from West of Scotland Water. He described the current management situation as "soul destroying". They have been making massive cutbacks on maintenance over a number of years in an attempt to "save money". It is only now that the infrastructure is starting to fail that the true cost of these cutbacks is being seen.
Andy, UK

I lived in the driest area of England (Anglia Water's region) where resevoirs are regularly low and water has to be pumped many miles to customers. We had no hosepipe restrictions (unlike neighbouring Thames Water customers) during that time and as I was on a water meter I was paying 75% less than I do now in my new home of Livingston - go figure!
Douglas Kinloch, Scotland

It is not as if we are short of rainfall.
Dougie, Scotland

These figures give yet more irrefutable evidence that Scotland's water services should be privatised. Water was privatised in England and, as a result, they have cleaner water that is more safe to drink. It is much cheaper too. What has water in public hands delivered for Scotland? Higher prices for water that gives you skitters and sickness, that's what! The facts are clear. Only blind dogma would lead someone to conclude that water is best kept in public ownership. Why should Scots have to settle for second best to the English? Privatisation is the only way forward, so lets get on with it now!
Alistair, Glasgow

I work for a very large industrial customer with extremely high water usage. The latest round of increases is a major factor in our business leaving Scotland piece by piece. More must be done to help Scotland's major industries in this respect before they are forced to leave with thousands of redundancies.
Allan, Scotland

I think that it is ridiculous that living in Scotland we have to pay more that anyone else for our water. I wouldn't mind paying more if the service was efficient and effective. Over the last year I have been unfortunate enough to live in the area where there was a parasite in the water and it was unsafe to use. There have also been a large number of occasions where our water has been off due to leakages etc. Also paying for water in Scotland at the price we are paying seems crazy when it rains nearly all year round. I think we know who is having the last laugh!
Katie Coull, Scotland

When I lived in England I had a water meter and paid an outrageous amount for water. Now my water costs are much lower. It should be remembered that the Tories wrote off quite a lot of the private water companies' debts - why can't the executive help Scottish Water out?
George, Scotland

Has Scottish Water re-structured to a "national" company to make it more difficult to be broken up and sold off?
Robert, Dunfermline

I spend my holidays in a caravan on the Isle of Mull. I'm there for approximately three weeks every year. This year the water bill has risen by approximately 2000% (yes, that is two thousand!).
Clym Sutcliffe, England

Scots water 'most expensive'
30 May 03  |  Scotland


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