Thames Water boss Sarah Bentley on £2m a year gets £727,000 windfall

Sarah Bentley, Thames Water’s boss, will receive a total amount of £727,000 in two single payments. This comes within days of being criticised by the Environment Agency over the company’s record of pollution.

The majority of the payment is part of a £3.1million “golden hello” for her signing on as chief executive of the UK’s largest water provider. New documents reveal that this payment is in addition to her eye-watering annual salary and bonuses, which rose to £2 million last year.

The agency criticized water companies for their record in pollution and sewage discharges. 2021 was branded by the agency as “the worst” for many years.

The worst performer was Thames Water, which is responsible for 15 million people. The company received only two stars out of five, which is indicative of the need for significant improvement’.

Bentley was paid the highest salary given to a Thames Water boss in 2015

The Mail on Sunday conducted a series of investigations into the finances and salaries of water companies. We revealed in January that Thames, Southern, and Yorkshire had paid no corporation taxes last year.

The newspaper reported earlier last month that Pennon, United Utilities, and Severn Trent paid their chief executives £ 9 million in this year’s fiscal. This despite being under fire for sewage pollution and executive bonus. This brought the total amount paid to the chief executives of the three firms to over £ 50 million since 2015.

Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales said that it was utterly shameful for water bosses to take home such huge pay packets and give themselves obscene bonuses while their companies ravage our natural environment by polluting water supplies and dumping raw wastewater in our waterways.

Lucas, who also serves on Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee said that “our environment shouldn’t have to pay the price for water bosses’ derelictions of duty.”

The Environment Agency released a damning report that criticized the water sector for its shockingly poor’ performance in reducing pollution. According to the Government agency, chief executives and board members of companies that are guilty of the most serious offences should be sentenced.

UK water companies are under fire for dumping raw sewage into Britain’s drinking water supplies. The number of serious incidents climbed to 62 last spring, the highest level since 2013. More than half of the incidents were committed by Thames and Southern Water.

According to the report, “Over the years, the public has witnessed water company executives and investors being rewarded handsomely while their environment pays the price.” Water companies behave like this because they can. We want to make it too difficult for them to keep doing the same thing.

Emma Howard Boyd, chair, said that the agency’s current fines are often less than the chief executive’s salary. Investors shouldn’t see England’s water monopolies as a one-way bet.

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