PROTESTERS outside Thames Water's headquarters have demanded the renationalisation of water companies - and claimed it could save taxpayers billions.

Saturday's protest – timed to coincide with 30 years since water services were privatised – was part of a national day of campaigning for public ownership of public services.

Oxford's Bill MacKeith said: “It’s quite frankly outrageous that private water companies have got away with so much for so long. After 30 years, we’ve had higher bills, failure to tackle leaks, and water companies polluting our rivers.

"Meanwhile, Thames Water's highest paid director earns over £500,000 a year. Enough is enough.

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"We’re handing Thames Water their notice, because it won’t be long before we take them into public ownership.”

Campaigning group We Own It argues that bringing England’s water companies into public ownership would save £2.3 billion every year. They also claim that this could save people around £100 a year on bills.

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Thames Water spokesman Mike Benke said: “We’re here to serve our customers in the best way possible. Private water companies can make long-term investment decisions to ensure the highest standards of water quality at globally-competitive prices, while subject to strict regulatory oversight.

“The fact remains that our water quality, pollution and leakage performance have all improved thanks to private sector investment, while Thames Water customers benefit from the from third lowest average combined water and wastewater bill in England and Wales.”