Thursday, July 26, 2018

Turning water into wine

Shareholders in the UK’s nine privatised water companies have made more than £6.5bn from dividends and interest in the past five years. The nine firms paid out £1.4bn in dividends last year alone

Bosses of the nine companies were paid £58m in salary, bonuses, pensions and other benefits over the same five-year period.

Consumer water bills in England and Wales have increased by 40 per cent above inflation since privatisation in 1989.

Water regulator Ofwat said excessive pay and poor performance had damaged consumers’ trust in the industry. Ofwat said firms must link senior executives’ pay to improved customer service, while companies that boost their profits by borrowing large amounts of money may have to share bumper rewards with customers. They will also have to explain how any dividend payouts above 5 per cent will benefit customers and not just shareholders.

GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: “Forking out billions to shareholders, while bills rocket and trillions of litres of water are wasted shows just how broken the system is. It's absurd that something we all depend on is in private hands delivering eye watering payouts instead of being run for the public good.”

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