PROTESTORS demonstrated outside Thames Water's headquarters in Reading last weekend (Saturday, July 6).

The group will called for England's water to be brought into public ownership, and arguing that 'time's up' on water privatisation.

READ MORE: Hundreds of jobs to be axed at Thames Water

The demonstration took place after the water industry was recently hit by a major scandal.

Last month, Southern Water was forced to pay £126m for spilling wastewater into the environment and deliberately misreporting its performance.

Speaking in advance of the demonstration, local campaigner Bill MacKeith said: "It's quite frankly outrageous that private water companies have got away with so much for so long.

"After thirty years of privatisation, we've had higher bills, failure to tackle leaks, and water companies polluting our rivers.

"Meanwhile, the highest paid director of Thames Water earns over 500 thousand pounds a year.

"Enough is enough.

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

The demonstration is part of a national day of action called by We Own It – the campaign for public ownership of public services.

Similar demonstrations will be taking place at other water company headquarters across England.

The day of action marks thirty years since water was privatised by Margaret Thatcher's government.

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.

Speaking on the demonstrations, We Own It campaigns officer Ellen Lees said: "The story of water privatisation is a story of failure.

"We’ve had thirty years of rising bills, shareholders and CEOs pocketing millions, and private companies failing to fix leaks in the system.

"The public are absolutely clear. 83 per cent of us want to see water in public ownership.

"Now we’re speaking out and saying time’s up for private water companies that have ripped us off, polluted our rivers and allowed cash to flow straight from our bills into their shareholders’ bank accounts.

"Now we’re saying it’s time for public ownership."

A spokesman from Thames Water 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."