Rt. Hon. Rebecca Pow MP
Minister for Environmental Quality and Resilience
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
29th June 2023
I write to you following reports that Thames Water is going to the wall, affecting a quarter of the UK’s population, including my almost 150,000 constituents.
All customers of water and sewerage companies are entitled to guaranteed minimum standards of service, including provision of safe drinking water and investment in infrastructure to upgrade and maintain water pipes. These are vital rights which form the basis of health for our country’s people and environment. England’s water must be treated as a responsibility, and not a cash machine.
Since privatisation, these services have often been outsourced. For example, Lanes for Drains is often contracted by Thames Water as a prominent drainage specialist and wastewater utility solutions provider. Lanes for Drains are currently contracted in the Feltham area in my constituency to inspect problems with the sewerage system in the area.
With Thames Water’s precarious financial position at present, constituents have raised concerns regarding how outsourced providers will be treated. If Thames Water become unable to pay their contractors, will these outsourced services cease? If this means a taxpayer-funded bailout to ensure that these statutory obligations continue to be met, how much will that cost and how will it be paid for? Finally, what safeguards will be in place for customers of Thames Water in my constituency and more widely?
Seema Malhotra MP
Member of Parliament for Feltham & Heston