Consumer activist bids for Yorkshire Water board seat

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The Independent Online
DIANA SCOTT, former chairwoman of an Ofwat consumer committee, is to lobby institutional shareholders in Yorkshire Water to support her bid for a seat on the board.

Mrs Scott alleges that Yorkshire Water is out of touch and patronising towards its customers and small shareholders and has a poor image. She is writing to groups including BAT, the British Coal Pension Fund, Schroder Investment and Prudential with a manifesto that she hopes will result in her election as a director at the annual meeting in September.

Yorkshire has so far rebuffed her attempts to join the board on the grounds that she has insufficient business experience despite widespread belief in the community that Mrs Scott is effective as a consumers' champion. She has backing from local shareholders.

Mrs Scott, 50 and a mother of three, is chairman of the Independent Television Committee's regional consumer committee and vice-chairman of the Yorkshire and Leeds duty solicitors' committee.

Ofwat's new price limits for water customers, announced on Thursday, have given Mrs Scott added impetus in her battle with the company. Under the new regime, the company's price cap will go up next year to inflation plus 2.5 percentage points, from RPI plus 1.9 per cent this year.

Mrs Scott is concerned Yorkshire consumers will suffer as the company continues to reduce its relatively high prices for metered customers under pressure from the industry regulator. She fears that the reduction will be offset by an increase for most households.