A majority of British Water members believe the Labour Party’s plan to renationalise the water sector will negatively impact the supply chain and customers.

In total 40 per cent of members responded to the survey by British Water, a trade association for companies operating in the UK water industry supply chain with more than 200 members.

On overall impact of the supply chain a total of 78 per cent of respondents said they believed future investment would be reduced or significantly reduced, while just 14 per cent believed it would increase.

Meanwhile 64 per cent said they believed the number of people employed in the supply chain would be reduced.

In terms of standards of service, 66 per cent believed there would be a reduction while 39 per cent said they believe that water quality at the tap would be reduced.

More than half of these (55 per cent) said they believed their business’ turnover and profitability would be reduced or significantly reduced.

British Water’s UK director, Paul Mullord, said: “Changes in the ownership structure of the water industry would inevitably have an impact on British Water members.

“The risk coming from renationalisation is that levels of investment would fall, reducing opportunities for the supply chain, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, and potentially impacting on levels of service for customers.

“While less than 40 per cent believe water quality into people’s homes would be affected, a majority of our members have expressed concern about the impact on their businesses, jobs and levels of investment.”

The British Water survey echoes the results of a ComRes survey published earlier this year which showed public support for water renationalisation had fallen substantially.

The ComRes survey found only two in five (42 per cent) of British adults said they support the nationalisation of water and sewerage services in England, with 37 per cent saying they oppose it.

This is in stark contrast to a poll by Populus for the Legatum Institute in September 2017, which claimed that 83 per cent of the population backed the idea of the water industry being publicly owned again.

John McDonnell, shadow chancellor lined up water as the first industry Labour will bring back into public ownership if the party gets into power.

He unveiled plans for a publicly-owned water system as part of his keynote speech at the Labour party conference in September last year.

Lila Thompson became chief executive of British Water on 3 December when she replaced Lloyd Martin. She recently welcomed a speech from Environment Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan about the UK’s pending water crisis, which highlighted the “mix of methods” needed to reduce demand and increase supply.

Thompson said: “Water scarcity is a very serious issue in the UK and globally and British Water members are very keen to play their part alongside the water utilities, the regulators and the public in achieving long-term water resilience.

“The water industry supply chain has a long history of innovation in meeting crises in water and sanitation evidenced over many decades. The UK already boasts a very broad range of technologies and expertise which include areas such as leakage detection, smart metering, data analytics and sustainable water management.”

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