Water bosses bonuses ‘went up by 20% last year’

Executives received on average a bonus of £100,000 last year

Executives of water companies pocketed thousands of pounds more in bonuses last year, compared to 2020.

According to The Guardian, bonuses for water bosses increased by 20% in 2021, with executives receiving on average £100,000 on top of their salaries.

The report suggests a total of £24.8 million was paid to the 22 water bosses, including £14.7 million in bonuses, benefits and incentives in 2021/22.

A few days ago, in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ofwat Chief Executive David Black defended water firms against fierce criticism over not building new infrastructure despite high levels of executive bonuses and shareholder dividends.

Mr Black said: “There isn’t sufficient account given for what’s actually happening in the sector; we appreciate it’s complex, it’s difficult to understand. We are determined to drive better outcomes from company performance.”

Pressed to comment on the large pay packages of water company bosses and shareholders, David Black replied: “I think where the confusion is between returns and dividends paid. So, companies are competing in international capital markets, it is important that they are able to earn a reasonable rate of return.

“We obviously target a rate of return as low as possible sufficient to attract investment to the sector.”

This week, data suggested that several coastal areas were hit by sewage discharges and authorities warned the public to stay away from the sea.

In response to the report today, David Black, Ofwat Chief Executive Officer, said: “I was very clear with company remuneration committees in March that performance-related pay for CEOs should be clearly linked to their performance for customers, the environment and society.

“We are carrying out our own analysis and plan to report on whether we feel companies have clearly made this link. Performance-related pay can’t be a one-way street, if companies are not performing that should be reflected in executive pay.”

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