In a shocking display of corporate greed, water industry executives in England and Wales have pocketed a record-breaking £10 million in salaries last year, despite mounting public outrage over the rampant sewage pollution scandal. The revelation comes from the Liberal Democrats' annual Water Firm Payout Tracker, which has been tracking the salaries and pension payouts of senior executives in the water industry for the past three years.
The report found that water firms have paid out an additional £876,000 in base pay for executives in 2022/2023 compared to 2021/2022. The ten firms also paid out a staggering £1.6 million last year for pensions of 26 executives, a rise year-on-year.
Despite the public outcry over sewage pollution, only five CEOs of water firms turned down their bonuses last year. The remaining executives raked in a staggering £9.7 million in bonuses.
Among the worst offenders is Anglian Water, the provider for Cambridgeshire. Anglian Water has missed its Ofwat pollution targets, yet they still managed to pay their two executives £60,000 more in bonuses compared to last year..
Liberal Democrat South Cambridgeshire Parliamentary Candidate Pippa Heylings, who has been campaigning for cleaner rivers, said;
"This is simply unacceptable, Cambridgeshire residents are tired of paying for water exec bonuses when the services they provide are simply not up to scratch. This Conservative government is totally failing to hold our water companies to account and local people are paying the price for it.
“This country’s water industry has become a gravy train where sewage and money flows freely. When will Conservative Ministers finally get tough on these polluting firms? These execs are stuffing their pockets while our rivers and precious Cambridgeshire chalk streams are ravaged. The whole thing stinks."
Nationally, the Liberal Democrats have called for a ban on all CEO bonuses within the water industry, as well as the firms to be reformed as “public good companies”.
The reforms would put an end to profit before the environment and ensure their boards including environmental experts.