Patrick Harvie MSP, economy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, says Scottish ministers should have done more to prevent giving a £350million contract to a private water company for supply of services to Scotland's public sector.

At the moment the billing and servicing of water for council buildings, hospitals, universities, prisons and the Scottish Parliament is carried out by Edinburgh-based Business Stream, which is 100 per cent owned by publicly-owned Scottish Water.

Patrick Harvie, Scottish Green MSP for Glasgow and a member of Holyrood's economy committee, said:

"A decision on this £350million contract should have been made in February, and the delay by Scottish ministers has caused uncertainty for Edinburgh-based Business Stream, its employees and contractors. It has also been a source of uncertainty for the 100 public sector organisations in Scotland currently billed by Business Stream.

"This was an opportunity to prevent the supply of water services to Scotland's public sector falling into the hands of a private firm whose profits won't benefit the Scottish economy, and specifically a company that paid no corporation tax this year yet handed shareholders a £180million dividend.

"The market for business customers in Scotland was opened up due to competition legislation brought in by Tony Blair's government. Scottish ministers must show determination to defend the public sector's role in Scotland's economy."

THE owners of Anglian Water took a £180m dividend last year — and paid no corporation tax. (Sunday Times, July 2015)

Motion lodged in February by Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone calling for water services to remain in public hands