Ban water company bosses’ bonuses until sewage discharges end say local Liberal Democrats

Water company bosses were awarded £27 million in bonuses while pumping raw sewage into England’s waterways over 1,000 times a day. Oldham Liberal Democrats demand a “sewage bonus ban” to ban future bonuses until sewage dumps stop.

England’s water company bosses have awarded themselves almost £27 million in bonuses over the past two years despite pumping out raw sewage into waterways 1,000 times a day, the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

Analysis of Companies House records by the Liberal Democrats shows that executives at England’s water and sewage companies were paid £48 million in 2020 and 2021, including £27.6 million in bonuses, benefits and incentives.

The eye-watering executive pay packets and company profits were made despite the Environment Agency reporting nearly 772,000 sewage dumping events taking place in 2020 and 2021 alone, or over 1,000 per day.

Oldham’s Liberal Democrat Leader, councillor Howard Sykes MBE said: “Liberal Democrats want the Government to ban new bonuses for water company executives until they put a stop to their sewage offences.

Howard Sykes at the former Crompton Baths site

“In the Northwest, United Utilities paid their executives £5.9 million in bonuses, benefits and incentives and made an operating profit of over £602 million in the last financial year. United Utilities have been responsible for more than 195,000 sewage dumps in our rivers and waterways over the last two years. There should be no reward for failing our environment in this way,” he added.

The Liberal Democrats have previously called for a Sewage Tax on the profits of water companies, to fund the cleaning up of waterways polluted by sewage. Analysis by the party suggests water companies made a staggering £2.7 billion in operating profits in 2020/21.

Councillor Sykes continued, “The Conservatives are allowing water companies to pump raw sewage into our precious rivers and lakes while awarding themselves obscene bonuses. Just like the millions paid out to bankers during the financial crisis, the public will find this hard to stomach.”

Liberal Democrat plans for a sewage bonus ban would stop water company executives being paid any more in bonuses until our waterways are protected from sewage dumps.

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