Socialist Worker

Firms plot to keep profits in case of Labour win

Issue No. 2684

SSE energy are scared of nationalisation

SSE energy are scared of nationalisation (Pic: Guy Percival)

Top bosses have shown their contempt for democracy by taking measures to avoid Labour’s renationalisation plans.

In the past fortnight National Grid and SSE Energy revealed they had shifted their UK regulated operations to new offshore holding companies in Switzerland, Hong Kong and Luxembourg.

Both are large groups that own electricity networks in England and Scotland.

The Swiss and Luxembourg entities could sue a British government that—rightly—took back these firms from the privatisers. This could be done under the Energy Charter Treaty, an international agreement that covers cross-border energy investments. 

Big shareholders in water firms have also taken action.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board moved its 33 percent stake in Anglian Water to a Hong Kong subsidiary earlier this year.

Despite the manoeuvres, corporations and the rich remain worried.

“Even if Labour loses this time, the threat is simply deferred until the next election, which could be sooner than people think,” said one adviser to utility companies.

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