Water company bosses pocketed record £10 million in salaries last year even as outrage grew over sewage pollution.
Financial records show the amounts paid to chief executives on the water industry ‘sauce train’ increased by £876,000 in 2022/2023 compared to 2021/2022.
Five chief executives declined their bonuses last year – but a further £9.7m in bonuses were paid to water industry chief executives.
United Utilities, which discharged the most wastewater into waterways according to the Environment Agency, paid its executives the highest basic pay (£1.6m) last year.
Severn Trent, which discharged wastewater 45,000 times last year, paid £3.5m in bonuses to two executives last year.
Thames Water paid £1.52m in salaries to its chief executive Ian Marchant, former chief financial officer Alastair Cochran and its former chief executive Sarah Bentley
Two companies, Anglian Water and Northumbrian Water, increased their bonus payouts compared to last year.
Anglian Water, which missed its Ofwat pollution targets, paid its two executives £60,000 more than last year.
The water industry is criticized for discharging wastewater into bodies of water, banning hosepipes in the summer, paying lavish executive salaries and skimming billions in dividend payments to shareholders.
At the time of privatization in 1989, water companies were sold debt-free, but the companies have now accumulated liabilities of more than £54 billion.
Water bills are expected to rise by an average of 35 percent by 2030 to finance infrastructure improvements that critics say could have been funded by reinvesting profits.
The Office for Environmental Protection, the regulator set up to maintain environmental standards in the UK after Brexit, is currently investigating whether the government committed “potential breaches of compliance with environmental laws” by failing to ensure that Sewage overflows do not pollute rivers.
Combined storm overflows should only be used after exceptionally heavy rainfall to prevent the system from backing up and homes and businesses from being flooded with wastewater.
The Liberal Democrats who carried out the analysis [pls keep]are calling for a ban on all CEO bonuses in the water industry and for the companies to be run as “common good companies” – whereby companies must put the needs of the environment above those of shareholders and boards would do so with environmental experts.
United Utilities, which discharges the most wastewater into waterways according to the Environmental Protection Agency, paid its executives the highest base pay last year
Severn Trent, which discharged wastewater 45,000 times last year, paid £3.5m in bonuses to two executives last year
Thames Water, whose chief executive Sarah Bentley (pictured) dramatically resigned in the summer, paid its chief executives £1.52m in salaries, around half of which went to Bentley
Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Tim Farron said: “This country’s water industry has become a gravy train where wastewater and money flow freely.” This is a scandal happening on this government’s watch.
“When are Conservative ministers going to get tougher on these polluting, profit-hungry companies?” These leaders are lining their pockets while our rivers and lakes are being destroyed. To be honest, the whole thing stinks.
“As long as the sewage scandal continues, these bonuses must be banned.” Bonuses should be a reward for success and not for committing environmental crimes.
“It’s time to destroy this broken industry, starting with reforming corporate boards and putting profit before the environment.” “Conservative ministers will ignore public outrage at their peril.”
Trade association Water UK said: “Although we do not accept the methodology, these Liberal Democrat figures show that overall CEO pay fell last year.” Additionally, no water and wastewater company in England and Wales paid a bonus using customer money, while Half of the CEOs received no bonus at all.
Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Tim Farron said: “This country’s water industry has become a gravy train where wastewater and money flow freely.”
The water industry has been criticized for pouring wastewater into waterways, banning hosepipes in the summer and paying lavish managerial salaries
“This is the first time this has happened in the water industry and reflects the industry’s recognition that the public expects better.”
A Defra spokesman said: “This government takes oversight of the water industry very seriously – that’s why we have given Ofwat new powers allowing it to tighten the rules around dividends.”
“That’s why we also welcome Ofwat’s tightening of the rules on bonus payments. “For 2022-23, no water company in England will pay a CEO bonus using customer money and many CEOs have chosen not to receive a bonus.”
The £10 million profit was split between just 26 executives in England and Wales.
Thames Water, whose chief executive Sarah Bentley dramatically resigned in the summer, paid its chief executives salaries of £1.52m, with around half going to Bentley and the rest split between chief executive Ian Marchant and Alastair Cochran, the former chief executive became a tax officer.
The highest paid bosses were those at Severn Trent Water, who received a basic salary of £1.2 million and £3.4 million in bonuses, benefits and incentives.
United Utilities, which received a base salary of £1.6 million and £2.4 million in bonuses and incentives, and Anglian Water, where top executives received a base salary of £996,700 and £1.3 million in bonuses, benefits and incentives .
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk