Fringe Box



Lib Dems Condemn Thames Water Executives’ ‘Shameful’ £2m Pay Packages 

Published on: 11 Nov, 2023
Updated on: 12 Nov, 2023

By Martin Giles

Guildford Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Zöe Franklin is complaining of: “Shameful excesses at the top of Thames Water, while sewage continues to pollute our waterways and crumbling infrastructure once again leaves thousands of local people without water.”

The Liberal Democrats’ analysis of Companies House records has revealed the water industry in England, Scotland and Wales paid out £10 million in executive salaries last year, the highest on record.

The Evening Standard has reported that Last year alone at least 14.3 billion litres of sewage were discharged into the Thames and 32 billion in 2021 – making it the worst year on record for sewage discharges into the river.

Guildford prospective Parliamentary candidate Zöe Franklin said: “It is shameful that Thames Water is allowed to reward its most senior staff with these excessive bonuses, while the sewage scandal continues.

Examples of sewage discharge upstream from Guildford during the first week of November 2023. Click on Image to enlarge.

“The news is all the more insulting to us, given thousands of people in and around Guildford have once again been left with no water for days. This latest failure of the company’s infrastructure has seen people having to queue to collect bottled water, and schools and local businesses were forced to close.

Thames Water’s top three executives’ £2,415,000 pay packages included:

    • £1,525,000 in base pay
    • £746,000 in bonuses, “benefits and incentives” and
    • £144,000 pensions

Zoe Franklin

Ms Franklin added: “This is all happening on the Conservative Government’s watch. I was appalled that there was no mention of the water industry’s sewage scandal in the King’s Speech this week.

“The Conservative government has shown no sense of urgency and no ambition to tackle this appalling environmental harm.

“We need a clear commitment to make water companies stop discharging sewage in our waterways and to fix their crumbling infrastructure. The Conservatives’ continued silence is deafening.”

But Guildford’s MP Angela Richardson struck back: “Readers of The Guildford Dragon know the steps that I have been taking to resolve the major incident over the last week. Thames Water’s communication has simply not been good enough.

Angela Richardson MP

“The government’s Plan for Water is increasing investment in our water infrastructure as well as tougher enforcement and regulations.

“The volume of diluted sewage along with heavy rain that is pumped into our waters during storm events is not acceptable, therefore it’s right that the government established legally binding targets for water companies to decrease these discharges. I am pleased that the Environment Act establishes an enforceable duty on water companies.

“Ofwat now has the powers to link performance to payouts to shareholders and management.

“Whilst the Liberal Democratic candidate is playing politics, I am focused on the important work of restoring our water supply, holding Thames Water to account and standing up for Guildford.”

The Liberal Democrats are calling for radical reform of the water industry, including:

  • a ban on CEO bonuses
  • firms to be run as ‘public good companies’ – prioritising the environment ahead of shareholders
  • The Boards to include environmental experts

Ms Franklin continued: “Thames Water puts profit before the environment. It is clearly not working as it should and is not listening to local concerns on reliable water supplies, and sewage discharges.

“When will Conservative Ministers finally get tough on these polluting and profiteering firms?”


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