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  • by Karma Loveday

Lib Dems brand water executive pay a “national scandal”

The Liberal Democrats last week branded water company executive pay a “national scandal” against the backdrop of hosepipe bans, leakage and a spike in sewage pollution.

The party analysed water company annual reports and said executive pay packets (salaries and bonuses) had soared by 21% between 2020/21 and 2021/22. In total, it said 22 water bosses paid themselves £24.8m, including £14.7m in bonuses, benefits and incentives in 2021/2022. Bonuses alone were up 18%, taking the average to £670,000.

The information was released as sewage pollution spiked following heavy downpours, and while prolonged dry weather has much of the country in the grip of drought with multiple hosepipe bans now announced.

Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson Tim Farron MP called it a “national scandal”. He said: “These disgusting polluting habits have made beaches unsafe in the middle of the summer holidays and harmed precious British wildlife. Hosepipe bans could have been avoided this summer if these water company CEOs bothered to invest in their rusting pipes rather than stuffing profits in their pockets.They are putting profit over the environment. Frankly, the whole thing stinks.”

The combination of hosepipe bans and storm overflow release coverage has made it a fraught week for the sector – companies and regulators alike. There has been widespread criticism of water industry performance, investment, debt, dividends, executive pay, regulation and ownership, and a resurgence of arguments for nationalisation.


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