Demands for public ownership of water after SHOCKING executive pay revealed amid sewage scandal

You won't believe what one CEO earned

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Campaigners have strengthened calls for water to be taken into public ownership after the eye-watering pay packets of water company executives have been revealed. According to a report in the Times, the remuneration packages for water industry bosses soared by 20% on average last year.

The Times reports that the average pay packets of private water company executives increased to a staggering £1.1 million in 2021/2, up by £193,000 on average. The figures come from analysis of Companies House data by the Liberal Democrats.

The revelations come at a time when the private water companies are facing increasing criticism for sewage pollution in England’s waterways. Data from 2021 showed that water firms discharged raw sewage into England’s rivers 375,000 times, for a combined total of 2.7m hours.

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrats’ environment spokesman, said: “This is a national scandal. Our rivers are becoming polluted with filthy sewage whilst these execs get rewarded with gold-plated pensions and bumper pay packets. The British public will be rightly furious at these payout figures. These staggering pay levels cannot be justified when sewage is gushing into our waterways.”

Severn Trent had the highest remuneration package for its executives, with two bosses pocketing a total of almost £6 million. The company’s CEO Liv Garfield received a £3.9 million package. Four executives at Thames Water shared £3.24 million.

Anti-privatisation campaigners have said the figures are “astonishing”, arguing that private water companies are currently being rewarded for failure.

Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It called for water to be taken into public ownership. She told Left Foot Forward: “This is absolutely astonishing. Do water company bosses get paid extra every time they pump out sewage into our rivers and seas? They’re being rewarded for abject failure. Time to end this farce and bring water into public ownership. Copy France, copy Scotland and make water work for people and planet, not profit.”

A spokesperson for Thames Water told the Times: “Our executive reward packages are benchmarked with those at other similar-sized organisations. We must pay competitive packages to attract and retain the best people.”

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

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