GMB Experts in the World of Work
Join GMB today
 Follow @GMB_union

Water Fat Cats Trouser £58 Million As Bills Soar

Tuesday, June 5, 2018



Privatised water company bosses in England took home an average of £1,254,000 in 2017 – six times more than the Prime Minister

Nine privatised water company fat cats trousered a whopping £58million in salary, bonuses, pensions and other benefits over the past five years.

The bosses of England’s privatised water and sewerage companies together received £11.3m in 2017 alone. [1]

The figures come from a joint investigation into their company accounts by GMB and Corporate Watch revealed at GMB’s 101st Congress in Brighton this week. [2]

They are released today [Tuesday] as GMB, the union for the water industry, launches it’s ‘Take Back The Tap’ campaign to bring England’s privatised water industry back into public ownership. 

The figures show that through a combination of salary, bonuses, pensions and other benefits that the average package for a privatised water company in 2017 was £1,254,000 – a figure that is 6 times higher than the pay and pension of the UK Prime Minister. [3]

Top of the water industry’s fat cat league was the CEO of Severn Trent who took home a staggering £2,450,700 in 2017 and a 50% increase since 2013. Close behind is the CEO of United Utilities who splashed out £2,310,000 on their CEO in 2017 -  a 49% increase since 2013.

While water bosses pocketed these eye-watering sums, consumer water bills in England and Wales have increased by 40% above inflation since privatisation in 1989 according to a report by the National Audit Office [4]

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said:

“It is a national scandal over the last five years England’s hard-pressed water customers have been forced to splash out £58 million through their bills to go into the pockets of just nine individuals.

“Privatisation of the water industry has been a costly mistake and these eye-watering sums are further proof the water industry must be returned to public hands.

“GMB is urging people and politicians to Take Back the Tap and make our water services work for the many and not the few.”

“Water is the most natural monopoly and should be in public hands.”


Contact: GMB Press office 07958 156846

Notes to Editors:

[1] Contact 


[3] Average pay package for among privatised water companies was £1,254,000 in 2017. The Prime Minister is paid £150,000 plus received a £40,000 pension contribution in 2017. This means that average privatised water CEO was paid 6.6 times more than the PM in 2017.

[4] National Audit Office report: The Economic Regulation of the Water Sector, page 9 (2015)                                                                                                                                                     

Share this page