Southern Water's failings show why Channel 4 must not be privatised: Yorkshire Post Letters

From: David Hinchliffe, Former Labour MP for Wakefield (1987-2005), Hade Edge, Holmfirth.

Channel 4 has established a base in Leeds.

Your report on the Government's proposed privatisation of Channel 4 includes a quote from Conservative Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, that this move will release the Channel "from the constraints of public ownership." (The Yorkshire Post, July 10).

Mr. Dowden would have been just leaving primary school when his Party were busy privatising various public utilities and, in 1987, I made my maiden speech in the Commons warning of the environmental consequences of handing the water industry over to private companies.

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I hope he has noted the latest consequence of freeing this industry from these "constraints", with Southern Water being fined £90m last week for what a judge termed the Company's "shocking and wholesale disregard for the environment."

Sea life, wild birds and domestic pets were poisoned as a result of their deliberate sewage discharges. Incredibly, this company has had 168 previous convictions and also been fined £2.7m for three separate but similar cases.

With recent Conservative proposals on both rail and bus services, this Government is being forced to act on the damaging consequences of their Party's privatisation policies.

I hope that added to this will be the restoration of water services to the public sector and a recognition that Channel 4 is a success story which should remain in public ownership.

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