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City MP calls on Government to ban water boss’ bonuses until they clean up their filth  

By 22 January 2024No Comments

Stephen Morgan MP has called on the Government to ban water boss’ bonuses as latest figures reveal that water company bosses have awarded themselves over £25m in bonuses and incentives since the last general election, according to analysis by Labour. 

The analysis found that nine water chief executives were paid a staggering £10 million pounds in bonuses, £14 million in incentives and £603,580 in benefits since 2019. At the same time, water companies plan to hike customers’ bills by an extra £156 a year to plug a financial gap.

Mr Morgan has said that the bonus handouts are an insult to working families in Portsmouth who are now unable to enjoy local bathing waters due to the degradation of water quality resulting from sewage pollution.

It comes as the water surrounding Southsea’s shoreline has been deemed unsafe for bathing.

A BBC Investigation revealed that Southern, Thames, and Wessex Water appear to have collectively released sewage in dry spills for 3,500 hours in 2022 – in breach of their permits.

In government, Labour will give the water regulator new powers to ban the payment of bonuses to water bosses who are illegally polluting our rivers, lakes and seas with toxic sewage.

By expanding Ofwat’s regulatory powers, water companies who fail to meet environmental standards on sewage pollution will face tough sanctions to ensure they cannot profit from law-breaking.

Commenting, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

”It cannot be right that water bosses are rewarded for failure and despite repeatedly breaking the law with illegal sewage discharges impacting Portsmouth’s precious environment.

“Under Labour’s plans, Ofwat could have blocked six out of nine water chiefs’ bonuses last year because of severe levels of sewage pollution.

“That’s why I’m calling on the Government to go further and adopt a plan that would allow the regulator to ban bonuses altogether and making sure chief executives face personal criminal liability for extreme and persistent lawbreaking.”

Steve Reed MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, said: 

“This Conservative Government has wilfully turned a blind eye to corruption at the heart of the water industry.

“The result is stinking, toxic sewage destroying our countryside, and consumers facing higher bills while failing water bosses pocket millions in bonuses.

“Labour will put failing water companies under special measures. We will strengthen regulation so law-breaking water bosses face criminal charges and give the regulator new powers to block the payment of any bonuses until water bosses have cleaned up their filth.

“With Labour, the polluter – not the public – will pay.”

Mr Morgan has recently written to the Secretary of State for the Environment and Rural Affairs calling for urgent action following the news that Southsea’s shoreline is no longer safe for bathing.

He has been a strong campaigner against sewage dumping taking a range of actions to tackle the impacts of the dirty water crisis locally, including questioning Ministers, convening a public meeting on the issue and working alongside local organisations and charities to hold government and industry to account.