Britain’s biggest water companies have handed their bosses a staggering £50m in salaries amid billions of liters of spills a day from mains pipes, the threat of hose bans and public anger over dumping sewage in rivers.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the bulging wage packages have been handed out by the top dozen firms over the past three years. More than half of them gave their chief executives at least £1million last year despite the cost-of-living crisis fueled by rising household bills.
These include Southern Water, which imposed a ban on hose lines and swimming pool filling from Friday, and Thames Water, which warned restrictions could be on the way.
The Environment Agency said prolonged dry weather across most of England was “the first phase of a drought”, which could mean more widespread bans.
The Environment Agency said prolonged dry weather across most of England was “the first phase of a drought”, which could mean more widespread bans
Activists have complained that leaks in the mains network and a failure to address dwindling water supplies mean Britain is unprepared for droughts.
Last week it emerged that water utilities were running out of up to a quarter of their supplies – nearly 2.4 billion liters – every day.
Of the 12 companies surveyed by The Mail on Sunday, the highest paid chief executive is Severn Trent’s Liv Garfield, who has been paid £9.8million over the past three years.
She follows United Utilities’ Steve Mogford at £9million. Thames Water paid his former boss Steve Robertson and his successor Sarah Bentley a total of £3.4million.
Severn Trent, United Utilities and Thames make up almost half of the £50m total.
They face growing public anger over sewage being pumped into rivers. Over the three-year period, more than a million sewage was discharged into Britain’s rivers, and the scale of the problem has only grown.
Earlier this month, the Environment Agency blasted water companies for their “shocking” performance on pollution.
The government agency described last year’s incidents as the “worst we’ve seen in years.” Emma Howard Boyd, who heads the agency, said executives and investors have been “handsomely rewarded, while the environment pays the price”.
It released a scathing report demanding that water company bosses responsible for the most serious incidents face jail time.
“It’s appalling that the water company’s performance on pollution has hit a new low,” she said.
“We plan to make it too painful for them to continue like this.”
Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre, slammed the scale of wages in the water industry. He said water bosses are paid like ‘entrepreneurs’ for doing the work of an ‘official’, adding: ‘Water is a public good. You don’t have to be a particularly good salesman to convince people to drink or wash in it.
“These are examples of how we grossly overestimate people in leadership positions. They take far more of the wages than they earn, to the detriment of everyone else.’
Activist and former pop singer Feargal Sharkey has become a fierce critic of the water company collapse. He told The Mail on Sunday that rewards given to bosses “simply reinforce the idea that it pays to pollute”.
Many companies in England insist on improving their environmental and operational performance. But their bosses are paid far better than their counterparts in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, whose organizations are structured differently and are not for-profit.
Sarah Venning, chief executive of Northern Ireland Water, the lowest paid of the dozen, was paid £215,000 last year. Scottish Water’s Douglas Millican earned £558,000.
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/water-bosses-soak-up-50m-in-pay-despite-supply-crisis-and-looming-hosepipe-bans/ Despite the supply crisis and the threat of hose line bans, water bosses collect £50 million in salaries