Tag Archives: utlities

Take Back Control

Until the 1980’s, when the utilities were privatised by Margaret Thatcher, they were in the Public Sector. And what a success privatisation has been. It has created dozens of millionaires paid for by the general public through higher gas, electricity and water bills!

The half-yearly profits of the utilities and their Chief Executive’s pay are obscene.

EON £3.4bn £1m
National Grid £3.4bn £6.5m
RWE £2.2bn £3.6m
Orsted £1.5bn £1.7m
Centrica £1.3bn £4.5m
SSE £1.2bn £4.5m
Uniper £1bn £1.6m
Scottish Power £925m £1.15m
Drax £225m £2.7m
EDF (£225m) loss £1m


Lightsource did not attend the meeting with the Prime Minister and their figures are not available.

The total disclosed half yearly profits are £14.9bn: which will be in excess of £30bn in the full year.

Instead of considering a windfall tax on these excessive profits (as has also been considered in respect of petrol) to provide help to those least able to afford their gas and electricity bills, if the gas and electricity companies were taken back into in public ownership these profits and the cost of excessive salaries could be used to reduce the bills for everyone. Instead of many Chief Executives and senior managers earning between £1m and £6.5 million per year there would be just two Chief Executives, one for gas and one for electricity, paid on public sector rather than private sector pay scales earning around £200,000 each. (The highest paid local government Chief Executive gets £185,000 for, arguably, greater and certainly wider responsibility)

So just how bad is the situation?

According to a report in The Guardian 2/3rds of UK households will be trapped in fuel poverty by January meaning their fuel costs will be 10% or more of their income. 18m families, or approximately 45m people, will be struggling to make ends meet. 86.4% of retired people and 90.4% of single parent families with two or more children will fall into fuel poverty.

This comes at the end of a decade during which the rich have got richer whilst the majority, subject to austerity, have got poorer. According to a report by the Paris-based World Inequality Lab, 2020 saw the steepest increase in billionaires’ wealth on record. In contrast 100m additional people, worldwide, sank into extreme poverty.

A consequence of this widening inequality is that, prior to the recent cost of living crisis, there were 3.9 million children living in poverty in the UK. The Government had focused on making work pay, but two in three children who were in poverty had a parent who was in work. These parents were no more able to do anything to help their children than are older people who have no earning capacity or borrowing power, many of whom prior to the abolition of the “default retirement age” had been forced into retirement and condemned to spending the rest of their lives in poverty.

Children brought up in poverty are less likely to do well at school, more likely to have health problems, making a demand upon the NHS, and have a shorter life expectancy.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 51 Comments

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