LONDON—Thames Water, the largest firm in the UK, is facing mounting concerns over its financial stability, leading to fears of a possible collapse. The abrupt resignation of Chief Executive Sarah Bentley has only intensified these worries. With a staggering debt of £14 billion, the company’s future hangs in the balance. In response to the escalating crisis, reports have emerged that the government is preparing contingency plans for the emergency nationalisation of Thames Water.

The Labour Party has voiced its apprehension about the entire water sector’s financial resilience following revelations that water bills could surge by 40%. In light of these developments, the government asserts its readiness to handle a variety of potential scenarios.

Nationalization of Thames Water is one option being considered to ensure the continued provision of essential water supplies. This approach has been employed in recent years with an energy company, indicating a precedent for such measures. The government maintains that the priority is safeguarding customer supplies.

Thames Water released a statement this morning affirming its ongoing collaboration with shareholders to bolster investment plans. During discussions in the House of Commons, Water Minister Rebecca Paw sought to reassure MPs that the industry as a whole maintains financial resilience. However, Shadow Environment Secretary Jim McMahon criticized Thames Water’s “unsustainable” actions.

Serving approximately 15 million people, Thames Water has faced mounting pressure due to its subpar performance, including instances of sewage spills. Moreover, the company’s staggering £14 billion debt has contributed to its current predicament. In a statement this afternoon, Thames Water expressed its commitment to working “constructively” with shareholders to secure the necessary funding for its turnaround.

Kemi Badenoch told Sky news she is “very concerned” and emphasized the necessity of preserving Thames Water as an entity. She highlighted the government’s ongoing efforts to address sewage-related issues and stressed the importance of ensuring the survival and continuity of the company. Until now, the regulator’s focus had been on minimizing consumer bills, but significant infrastructure work must be undertaken, requiring the survival of Thames Water as a viable entity.

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