Zöe Franklin: Conservatives must act now to put Thames Water into Special Administration

25 Mar 2024
ZF Speaking on TW at Conference

Guildford’s Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate Zöe Franklin: 

  • We must be clear.  
  • The Conservatives turning a blind eye to struggling Thames Water’s failures is risking taxpayers facing a bill of billions.  
  • The Conservative Government must act now to put Thames Water into Special Administration. 

Zöe Franklin said: “Thames Water is on the brink of bankruptcy. And if the Government fails to use new powers to intervene urgently, the multi-billion pound cost of bailing out a failed company would fall on taxpayers. 

“After years of underinvestment in infrastructure, their shameful legacy is sewage pollution in our waterways and people who can’t be confident their water supply is reliable. All while the company has pushed to be allowed to increase our bills by 40%, to pay lower fines for pollution, while still paying out shareholder dividends. 

“The company has also just refused to contribute to an industry-wide plan to fast-track reductions in sewage pollution in our waterways - and Conservative ministers let them get away with it. 

“The government must put Thames Water into Special Administration. “  

Updated legislation allows the High Court to appoint a special administrator to take over a failing water firm. Its debts would remain with the holding company, meaning taxpayers would not be liable.  

The Liberal Democrats want Thames Water reformed as a Public Benefit Company, with an environmentalist on the company board. The company would work in the public interest as well as for shareholders. 

Zöe Franklin continued: “Ministers must act now before it's too late.  

“Speaking at the Liberal Democrat spring conference, I led calls for the Government, regulators and Thames Water itself to address the failures causing lasting damage to our environment, making people ill, and leaving communities without a reliable infrastructure that is fit for purpose. Thames Water must be fully accountable to its customers. It should not be allowed to hide from the customers it serves.

“So far, the Conservatives have watched from the sidelines as asset-strippers run Thames Water into the ground. Thames Water bosses have been profiteering for years. This must stop now. 

 “The cost of failure must not fall on taxpayers. The Government must act now.