Sunday, August 05, 2007

Shock, Horror: Plc puts shareholders first!

"British Gas has announced record profits of £533 million. That works out at £3 million a day and a staggering £676 million increase on the same time last year. Announcing the results, Roger Carr, Chairman of British Gas’ parent company Centrica, said shareholder value was “top of the agenda”.
It certainly doesn’t look like customers are a priority. Research by price comparison website uSwitch found that British Gas has put prices up by 36% (£299) in 2006. Since then, the wholesale price of gas has dropped by 56%. However, British Gas has only reduced its prices by 18% and says it won't be cutting them further."

writes financial journalist Simon Ward.What a surprise! The astonishing thing is that some people still believe that when privatisation takes place customers, and not shareholders, will come first. If we want customers to come first, then our public utilities should be publicly owned, and run not to make as much profit as possible, but for the good of the whole community.
That means keeping branch railway lines open, even if they are, in a narrow sense of the word, 'uneconomic', putting in seats (lots of them), and not shopping malls into new airport terminals, keeping village post offices open, guaranteeing a next day first class mail delivery to even the remotest part of the British Isles and keeping telephone boxes in working order in isolated rural areas.

Those who supported privatisation of gas, electricity, water, telecommunications,
the railways and Britain's airports, are in no position to turn round now and
complain that plcs like British Gas are putting shareholders and not customers first. It's simply what plcs do. And always will do. Which is why plcs are totally unfit to run public utilities.

No comments: