Re: @Lee D
"BT privatisation co-incided with the introduction of System X exchanges. Indeed, the perceived cost of the changeover was the original driver for privatisation."
But that's my point again - government will not invest (or perhaps, government cannot invest wisely). In THEORY they could have invested in new water assets (and telecoms, and electricity, and gas, and rail). But they never did. On the few occasions they tried to invest the results were often a mess (eg the part completed national trunk road network, or the 1955 rail modernisation plan, madcap 1960s and 1970s ideas for oil fired power stations Littlebrook, Grain, Tilbury and Fawley and so forth).