Reading’s Liberal Democrats have slammed Thames Water for their shocking performance in recent weeks. Barely three weeks into 2024, Reading residents have seen flooding, sewage leaks, road disruptions, and now water shortages and school closures, all courtesy of Thames Water – which is now proposing raising customers’ bills by almost £15 per month despite paying tens of millions of pounds in dividends to its parent company in recent years.
James Moore, Councillor for Tilehurst and leader of the Liberal Democrats on Reading Borough Council, said:
“For three days now, residents across Reading and into West Berkshire have been suffering from no or low water pressure. After this latest issue on Sunday, west Reading residents have been left in the lurch, with the emergency water stations closing when people most needed them, and very slow to reopen the next day. A neighbour called Thames Water when the water went off completely on Sunday evening, only to be told by the operator to go and buy water from a shop!
“Thames Water are taking the mickey with this new proposal to increase customers’ bills. If they need to raise money, they need to look closer to home before raiding residents’ wallets during a cost-of-living crisis.”
Helen Belcher, Liberal Democrat candidate for Reading West and Mid Berkshire at the upcoming General Election, said:
“Right across our area, residents are telling me that Britain feels broken – nothing encapsulates this better than the chaos and disruption caused by Thames Water over the last few weeks. The floods around the new year were made worse by incessant sewage dumping.  Last week, some residents were swamped by too much water. Now, residents don't have anywhere near enough.
“Thames Water need to get their house in order. So far this year, they have flooded residents’ homes and parks with sewage, caused traffic chaos by digging our roads up, and cut or reduced their water supply for days on end. Asking residents to pay ever more for such a shockingly bad service, after paying millions of pounds of dividends, only adds insult to injury.
“Liberal Democrats in Parliament have a plan to turn Thames Water into a public benefit corporation, forcing it to reinvest in its network before paying out dividends. I urge everyone to support Tim Farron’s bill and see an end to this utter shambles.”