CBI Scotland

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The Scottish CBI is the Scottish arm of Confederation of British Industry.

The Scottish CBI and Scottish Water

The Scottish CBI are consistently regular advocates of the privatisation of Scottish Water. Wherever and whenever they perceive an opportunity to advance its privatisation they appear to revel in taking it. Not for them the promotion of mutualisation, for many a backdoor move to privatisation, no, for the Scottish CBI and their Chief Ececutive Iain Mcmillan there is a trenchant belief that only a full privatiation will suffice. As confirmed by Iain Mcmillan at the Scottish Conference 'Turning the Tide, The Future of Scotland’s' Water in March 2008 [1].

In a submission to the Scottish government’s Draft Budget for 2009/10 the Scottish CBI set out a 15 point plan. The 15-point plan included calls to privatise Scottish Water, thus, supposedly saving £180m annually. Cleverly, this saving has been spun as a win-win situation in that this saving will pay for the cost of the controversial new Forth Road Bridge whilst Scottish Water will then be able to borrow from the capital markets plus generating funds for the exchequer through its sale [2] [3] [4]. On the face of it, this plan all seems rather clever and simple, especially in the present economic climate where public spending is getting tighter and is expected to get even more so. However, selling off a vital natural resource, essential for various uses, to the very banks and financial institutions that have contributed to the current financial turmoil leading to decreasing public funds, is likely to generate much opposition in Scotland.


  • Magnus Linklater and Robin Denniston, (Eds) Chambers Anatomy of Scotland: How Scotland Works, Edinburgh: Chambers, 1992. The Chapter on 'The Economy' by Keith aitken, has a setion on CBI Scotland on pp.274-7.


  1. Turning the Tide Conference, Attended by the Author, (3 March 2008)
  2. The Times (18th January 2009) CBI calls for Scottish Water sale Privatisation could raise millions of pounds towards the cost of the new Forth bridge, says the business group, Accessed 18th January 2009,
  3. Scotland on Sunday (18th January 2009) CBI chief: sell Scottish Water to pay for bridge, Accessed 18th January 2009,
  4. BBC (18th January 2009) Utility sale 'could fund bridge', Accessed 18th January 2009,