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Meeting of thieves should be cancelled
SIB meeting with big business at Stormont Hotel to discuss privatisation of water service
We Won’t Pay Campaign
PRESS RELEASE - 6/12/06
The We Won’t Pay Campaign has called for an event organised by the Strategic Investment Board to discuss the future of the water service to be cancelled after it was revealed that is to be sponsored by private company Dalradia Water.
The ‘Water Forum’ will be held on Thursday 7th December at the Stormont hotel in Belfast.
Gary Mulcahy, secretary of the We Won’t Pay Campaign stated “The SIB, which is a company run by former bosses from the private sector, has invited private multi-national companies to tempt them to take over our water service. That is why water charges are being introduced, to sell the service off to big business. This in reality is the real consultation on the future of our water service, a consultation with private companies. Representatives of big business, including the chief executive of Phoenix Gas, will be speaking at this ‘Water Forum’ about the benefits of privatisation.
“The owners of the water service, the public, are being left out of this event. There is a £195 charge on the door! Incredibly, some of our local politicians including SDLP leader Mark Durken MP will be participating in this meeting. Katharine Bryan, the chief executive of the water service will also be a key speaker. Mrs. Bryan is being paid £150,000 per annum plus bonuses to organise the privatisation of the service and introduce water charges.”
“The people of Northern Ireland should be the only ones who decide the future of our water service and not big business who are only interested in making huge profits from water charging.”
For more comments contact 90311778 or 07743282321
Background on Dalradia Water (written September 2005)
THE GOVERNMENT has handed a £110m PFI contract to Dalradia Water (a consortium of multi-national companies) to run part of the water treatment facilities in Northern Ireland for 25 years.
The consortium is made up of three companies. One is Farrans, a construction company owned by Cement Roadstone Holdings which, only a few months ago, was awarded a very similar water service PFI contract worth £270m.
The other companies which make up the consortium are Tyco International and the Kelda Group. Tyco is a major multi-national company which recently hit the headlines when it was involved in a major fraud scandal. A former chief executive and former finance chief are both serving a 25-year sentence and have been collectively fined $105m for stealing $600m from the company.
The Kelda Group owns Yorkshire Water, one of the privatised water companies in England. As was predicted by the We Won't Pay Campaign, the private water multi-nationals are taking over the water service in Northern Ireland. Last year, Kelda's pre-tax profits rose by 16.8% to £223.7m after the so-called regulator Ofwat announced that Yorkshire Water would be allowed to increase water charges by 18% more than inflation from 2005 to 2010.
It is hardly surprising these fat-cat water bosses are getting these lucrative PFI contracts. Northumbrian Water Group donated over £20,000 to New Labour in 2004. Executive Chairman of the Kelda Group, John Napier was one of 58 bosses to write a letter calling on big business to support New Labour before the last general election.
Water boss John Napier is actually a board member of Yorkshire Forward - a government body responsible for economic development of the Yorkshire and Humber region. The handing over of our water service to big business is a major scandal which should be met with mass non-payment of water charges.