Harrogate Lib Dems criticise Yorkshire Water £2m executive payments
Last updated Nov 9, 2023
Yorkshire Water.

Harrogate and Knaresborough Liberal Democrats have criticised Yorkshire Water after it paid senior executives £2 million in bonuses last year.

Companies House documents show the water firm paid a total of £2.09 million to four executives in the year ending March 2023.

The move comes as Yorkshire Water has faced criticism this year for pumping sewage into local rivers.

Tom Gordon, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said the water industry had become a “gravy train”.

He added that chief executives of water companies should be banned from taking bonuses.

Mr Gordon said:

“Our local waterways are being pumped full of raw disgusting sewage, all whilst the water firm hand themselves insulting pay-outs. The whole thing stinks. These salaries and perks have reached eye-watering levels, yet Conservative ministers refuse to act. 

“I was shocked that there was literally no mention of sewage in the King’s Speech.

“It is time to rip up Yorkshire Water so it no longer puts profit before the environment. The firm is clearly not working how it should and is not listening to local concerns on sewage discharges. 

“This country’s water industry has become a gravy train where sewage and money flows freely. This is a scandal and happening on this government’s watch.”

In response, a Yorkshire Water spokesperson said: 

“The pay of our directors is set by a remuneration committee, which is independent from our executives, and is comparable within the industry.

“Any incentive payments are strongly linked to company performance and align with best practice and regulatory guidance.”

Read more:

The comments come as Yorkshire Water recently submitted a £7.8 billion proposal to Ofwat as part of investment plans for 2025 to 2030.

The company’s plan includes £3.1 billion to improve resilience in the water network, £4.3 billion to protect river and coastal water quality and investment in customer service and financial support for customers.

However, it would mean average bills would rise from £438.12 in 2024/25 (£36.51 per month) to £518.76 in 2025/26 (£43.23 per month) with increases each year thereafter.

Mr Gordon previously described the move as “utterly scandalous”. 

However, Andrew Jones, Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said the plan was a step up for Yorkshire Water and would help to “strengthen” plans for a bathing water application for the River Nidd.