Willie Rennie chides John Swinney over Scottish Water 'bribe'
Published: 10th Jun 2012 00:32:22
Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie has described the delay in Scottish Water reform as a government "independence bribe".
Rennie claims the public coffers could be boosted by £1.5bn if Scottish Water becomes a public benefit corporation.
The company would remain in public hands but could borrow from the open market instead of from public funds.
A Scottish government spokesperson said it too wanted Scottish Water to borrow on better terms - as a public company.
Mr Rennie is calling on Finance Secretary John Swinney to invest the £1.5bn windfall in boosting job opportunities across Scotland.
He argues that 100,000 new jobs could be created in broadband, science, technology and energy efficiency.
"Unlocking the money in Scottish Water to re-invest in job creating projects is a no-brainer," said the Liberal Democrats leader.
"We need this investment now but the SNP government seems content to sit on their hands and do nothing.
"There appears to be no longer any objection in principle to reforming Scottish Water by the SNP. People will ask one simple question, why wait?
Following independence, the Scottish government would allow Scottish Water to issue bonds to the capital markets”
"The suspicion is that the SNP want to hold this money in reserve as an independence bribe, putting party politics above national interest.
"I want Scotland to be able to invest this money now. [Chief Secretary to the Treasury] Danny Alexander is ready and willing to listen to any approach the SNP government makes.
"John Swinney should pick up the phone and work with the coalition government to deliver this investment for Scotland."
Rennie claims support from David Watt, chief executive of the Institute of Directors, who said: "We would be very much in favour of a change in the structure of Scottish Water to a public benefit corporation.
"We believe that under that model, Scottish Water could borrow on the open market."
The Scottish government said its policy was clear irrespective of the result of the referendum.
"Of course we want Scottish Water to have the ability to borrow so that we can boost infrastructure investment, and we are equally clear that it would remain a company in public ownership on that basis - both under devolution and with independence," said a spokesman.
"Scottish Water - in public ownership - has been a substantial success story in Scotland. It has managed its infrastructure well and frozen water charges for households for the last four years.
"Following independence, the Scottish Government would allow Scottish Water to issue bonds to the capital markets - and such bonds would be extremely attractive to a range of investors."
Scottish Water, headquartered in Dunfermline, provides services to about 5m customers in 2.4m households.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Willie Rennie chides John Swinney over Scottish Water 'bribe'. [Online] (Updated 10 Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/1433653-Willie-Rennie-chides-John-Swinney-over-Scottish-Water-bribe [Accessed 19th June 2013]
At 19:47:26 in HeadlinesOne in nine US bridges - more than 66,000 in total - are structurally deficient, a report has found....
At 19:45:43 in HeadlinesBrazilian police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters in the city of Fortaleza, as unrest continues across the coun...
At 19:33:31 in WorldUS Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken by phone with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to try to defuse tension, an Afghan government spoke...
At 19:32:47 in BusinessThe US Federal Reserve has maintained the rate of its asset purchase programme at $85bn (£54bn) a month, aimed at boosting the economy....
At 19:26:21 in EnglandTwo workers at a care home in Buckinghamshire asked for forgiveness after being caught sleeping during their night shift, a court has heard....
At 19:24:15 in EnglandFormer newspaper boss Eddy Shah "never touched" a young girl he is accused of raping, a co-defendant has told jurors....
At 19:21:03 in WalesA snack bar manufacturer is to move its main production plant from north to south Wales....
Mars' atmosphere could have been rich in oxygen four billion years ago - well before Earth's air became augmented with the gas....
At 18:55:19 in Northern IrelandThe first public hearings of the historical institutional abuse inquiry should begin in January 2014, the inquiry chairman has told a Northe...
At 18:53:49 in HeadlinesEgypt's tourism minister has said he will quit in protest at the appointment of a governor in the city of Luxor with links to an Islami...
News In Other Categories
The first public hearings of the historical institutional abuse inquiry should begin in January 2014, the inquiry chairman has told a Northe...
Sally Gardner, a dyslexic author once branded "unteachable" at school, has won the prestigious Carnegie Medal for her book Maggot ...
The government has rejected Labour calls for specially-trained teachers to be brought in to educate children about the dangers of internet p...
Two workers at a care home in Buckinghamshire asked for forgiveness after being caught sleeping during their night shift, a court has heard....
The US Federal Reserve has maintained the rate of its asset purchase programme at $85bn (£54bn) a month, aimed at boosting the economy....
A snack bar manufacturer is to move its main production plant from north to south Wales....