1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Markets, Business and Regulation

Social policies and private sector participation in water supply – the case of Great Britain (Draft)



The water and sewerage industry in Scotland, England and Wales was not immune to wider policy developments. Indeed, the English and Welsh industry’s evolution over the last thirty years may be understood in terms of shifting policy priorities, resulting in a changed perception of the relationship between the service supplier and recipient. Thus, instead of suppliers prioritising social equity in seeking to supply all citizens at subsidised rates, changes in policy ensured that they gradually came to prioritise economic equity in selling to those customers able to pay on a full-cost recovery basis. In other words the ‘public service’ model of the relationship between producer and consumer began to give way to a ‘business organisation’ model. Against this background the Great Britain case study analyses the issue of affordability of water services and how social policies are designed, in Scotland, England and Wales, with particular reference to low income households.

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