Here in Scotland domestic water isn't privatised. The publicly owned corporation is also responsible for sewerage services and the Scottish Government determine the national policy. This excellent publicly owned service is known as Scottish Water and the average water and sewerage costs to Scottish users is slightly below those of the private water companies in England and Wales.
The unionist parties in Scotland, Labour, the Tories and the LibDems have all regularly called for the sale of Scottish water, insisting it would benefit the public purse. The CBI has been exceptionally vocal too.
Yet, in spite of these pressures from the unionist parties, the SNP Government have insisted they have no plans to sell Scottish Water to the highest bidder, or any bidder. They are resolute about our water continuing in public ownership.
Northern Ireland's water service is an 'arms-length' organisation (the modern method employed by politicians to avoid responsibility) which has a troubled past. It also has a troubled present. Since Christmas Eve thousands have been without water, including businesses and public services such as their health services, who are having to rely upon the fire service for water. I was disappointed to read this statement from Owen Paterson, the Westminster based Northern Ireland secretary:
Scotland has sent 160,000 litres of bottled water to assist the folk of N Ireland. Owen Paterson doesn't mention Scotland whatsoever has he appears to believe all water in the UK is privatised.
Thanks to the present Scottish Government we have an effective and efficient water supply here and all under public ownership. Much of the credit must go to those within the Scottish Government who are responsible for investing our money wisely and ensuring we have a first class service.
Let's hear no more about the sale of Scottish Water. Water is vital to life and we need to preserve it for future generations. Doing what N Ireland has done, by creating an arms-length company, shows the dangers of removing it from any form of direct government control.
'It's our water' is a great slogan here in Scotland. I hope we can say that in 50 years time.