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Anglian Water showers cash on its shareholders claims union -but firm says 'we're a responsible business'

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Dividends and interest worth £34 million were accrued by Anglian Water shareholders in 2017 alone, according to the GMB union.

Peter Simpson, Anglian Water's CEO. (3396673)
Peter Simpson, Anglian Water's CEO. (3396673)

An investigation by GMB, the water union, has revealed Anglian Water shareholders have made £372 million in just five years.

The privatised water company showered shareholders with a total of £34 million in 2017 alone.

Anglian Water wastes 180 million litres of water every single day through leaks.

Last month, GMB figures showed Anglian Water’s CEO trousered a whopping £8 million in salary, bonuses, pensions and other benefits over the past five years.

The figures come from a joint investigation into the accounts by GMB and Corporate Watch as part of GMB’s Take Back the Tap Campaign to bring England’s privatised water industry back into public ownership.

While shareholders pocketed these eye-watering sums, consumer water bills in England and Wales have increased by 40 per cent above inflation since privatisation in 1989 according to a report by the National Audit Office.

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: “Forking out billions to shareholders, while bills rocket and trillions of litres of water are wasted shows just how broken the system is.

“We all need water, it’s not an optional extra, it’s absurd that something we all depend on is in private hands delivering eye watering pay outs instead of being run for the public good.

“That’s why GMB is calling for the water industry to be brought back into public ownership.”

However, a spokesman for Anglian Water hit back saying the company has had the lowest bill increases since privatisation across the industry and the firm had also recently announced it was slashing dividend payments at least until 2020.

She said: "Senior manager pay, together with any performance-related bonus, is kept under regular review by a separate committee of our board. This is to make sure that what we pay is comparable with similar roles and responsibilities in other companies and ensure we attract and retain the best qualified people to run the vital service we provide.

“Anglian Water bills today are less than they were five years ago, and we have the lowest bill increases since privatisation across the water industry- just 10per cent in nearly 30 years.

“We also announced plans earlier this year to slash dividend payments until at least 2020 in order to fast track £65million worth of investment into schemes which will protect the region against water shortages in the future.

“We are a responsible business. We have half the amount of leakage compared to the rest of the water industry, our investment into building a resilient network and ability to store water for when we need it most, means our supplies are healthy despite the recent dry weather. These plans show our unwavering commitment to continuing on this journey to keep taps running generations into the future.”

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