'For what we're about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful'. Whether you believe in God or not, I doubt if there are many who don't think, every now and then, how lucky we are to have clean drinking water throughout the UK.
Scotland is more fortunate than other parts of the UK because present and past Scottish governments have refused to consider privatising water and insist that it will stay in public hands. In the past decade there have been plenty calls from various sources, including the Tory party, to privatise the asset in order to raise a few £billion to 'prop up jobs and services in other parts of the public sector but thankfully the majority of MSPs have been far-sighted enough to understand the public want water to be in public hands. To suggest selling Scottish Water is a definite vote loser and I doubt if it will ever be considered for sale in the coming years.
In an independent Scotland it will be more important to hold onto such a valuable asset, particularly when there is evidence showing the English are being ripped off by their private water companies.
All English water companies have foreign owners, ensuring that profits go out of the UK. Meanwhile, Scottish Water (International) hires its expertise to foreign companies, ensuring the fees involved are ploughed back into the company.
Once again this year Scottish Water has frozen its charges - for the fourth year running. The average annual household charge from this month will remain at £324 - the same level it was in 2009-10. SW said the freeze ensured its customers continued to get 'real value for money'.
In my 20+ years back in Scotland I've never experienced a hosepipe ban, I don't have a water meter fitted and my drinking water is superior to any bottled water I can buy. I respect water and do my best to use it wisely, but I do have sympathy with so many parts of England where it is now rationed, because customers are still required to pay for a reduced service. That doesn't seem right to me.
Scottish Water is a success in public ownership and will continue to offer Scots a quality product at a fair price for years to come. Meantime, the price of water in England will continue to rise and the service will drift between poor and excellent. That's the difference between a well-run public business and splitting a utility such as water into several private companies.