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Say hello to the *twenty five* year plan

Not, admittedly, from the Keystone pols in Downing Street, but rather from Ofwat:

"Ofwat last year asked companies to produce 25-year plans for maintaining and developing services. Each company has been challenged to set its five year business plan in the longer term context, demonstrating how it will deal with issues such as climate change, sustainability and meeting consumer expectations".

It shows a certain degree of hubris on the part of the watery quango that it is counting on being around in twenty five years that it might then stick some litmus paper in Thames Water's, erm, water in 2033, and also a complete lack of faith on its part that a free market in water will deliver. The CEO, Ms Finn is Hibernian, and does not appear to have ever done a day's work in the wealth-creating parts of the economy, thus making her the ideal candidate to tell business how to run itself.

Ofwat has form when it comes to empire building, and when it, as it doubtless will, decides to variously fine Mersey, Tyne and Irwell Water for failing to be sufficiently alarmist about 'climate change' or for failing to show 'excellence in customer service' the fines go straight the government. Yes they do.

The auguries for such plans give some pause - Stalin's first five year plan involved the creation of collective farms and the liquidation of the kulaks. If memory of O level history serves, he said something along the lines of 'we will smash the kulaks so hard that they will never recover'. Perhaps the board of the water companies should be concerned, meanwhile I am worried that five year plans can also be superseded by a 'great leap forward', and end up with a 'cultural revolution'.

As a footnote to that paragraph, a letter in today's Telegraph refers to the Cultural Revolution as 'an unhelpful distraction'. Given that estimates of the Butcher's Bill for that particular outbreak of Maoist savagery range as high as 3m dead, that is perhaps the most unsuitable euphemism I have encountered in a while.

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Blogger Praguetory said... 2:25 pm

On the upside, I understand that OFWAT oppose windfall taxes on utilities.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:41 pm

Probably because it would like to get its damp fingers on the profits itself....

Nice to see you back in the land of the virtual, by the way.  

Blogger Praguetory said... 2:48 pm

When OFWAT imposes fines (e.g. £35m on Severn Trent) the money is returned to the Treasury. I would argue it should go to the consumer, but I suppose that debate is for another day.

PS - will you be at Tory conference?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:56 pm

PT - I'm switching to e-mail for this.  

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