Privatised water company, Thames Water, has been in the news this

week as it faces collapse, struggling with £14 billion of debt which is ‘unsustainable’ in the face of soaring interest rates.

It is staggering that a utility, which was debt-free when it was privatised back in 1989 (raising a paltry £922 million for the then UK government), has been allowed to get into this mess. What’s worse is that the debt has not been built up to invest, but instead to fund lavish shareholder dividends.

Analysis has shown that since 2002, Thames Water has paid out £3.2bn in dividends and £8.8bn in net interest payments. That is money that should have been spent improving infrastructure. Because it wasn’t, Thames continues to be a major polluter, discharging raw sewage into the natural environment.

This is an outrage. Its assets, which have been built by the public, have been neglected and squeezed for every last drop of shareholder value, before leaving their hollowed-out remains to be taken back into public ownership.

This is vulture capitalism in action and it is a stark reminder that the economy should serve people and the planet, not the other way round.

Another example of this is playing out in my own ward, Pollokshields, and in communities across the country who are facing bank closures.

The Bank of Scotland plans to close its Albert Drive branch, the last remaining bank in Pollokshields, at the end of July.

Local community activist Tabussam Niamat has highlighted concerns that closure will increase people’s isolation and exacerbate health, mobility and language barriers.

It is also a massive blow to a local town centre that has lost two key buildings to fires in recent years, prompting a council working group set up to develop a recovery plan for the area.

This week, the local MP, Alison Thewliss has taken the case to the House of Commons.

However, it seems that pleas to save the bank are set to be ignored by bank bosses, who insist the closure will go ahead.

What makes that especially galling is that there is no immediate need for it to close branches. The bank is not struggling. Quite the opposite in fact. In just the first three months of this year, it racked up an eye-watering profit of £2.3bn. That was almost 50% up on the same period last year.

There are concerns that profit surges across the banking sector are being achieved by cynically cashing-in on interest rates – not passing on base rate rises to savers either as quickly or as fully as to borrowers.

And let’s not forget that the Bank of Scotland owes its continued existence to the public who bailed it out during the banking crisis.

We need a deep rethink of for whom our economy works. The capitalist model is failed. It is not anti-business to say that. Trade and commerce are vital to support jobs, communities and wellbeing, but the extraction of shared wealth in the interests of private capital is not.

Scottish Greens will always stand for an economy that works for people and the planet.