Water company bosses' bonuses hit £54 million as Lib Demscall for Ofwat to be abolished

25 May 2024

EMBARGO: 22:30 Friday 24th May 

  • Liberal Democrats will call for new water regulator in manifesto as party plans boldest policies on sewage pollution

  • Ed Davey calls out “toothless and weak regulator” and says “it is time to rip up this disgraced industry and start again”

  • Water company bosses bonuses have hit £54 million in this Parliament

The Liberal Democrats have announced their plans for a new water industry regulator, amid national outrage at the sewage scandal. 

The Liberal Democrats, who have led the campaign against sewage pollution for over three years, will unveil the boldest offering of any political party on the sewage scandal.

The party’s manifesto includes a pledge to scrap the current regulator Ofwat, and replace it with a new regulator with far more power.

New analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found that since 2019, the government’s water regulator Ofwat has allowed water company executives to receive £54 million in bonuses. 

Water companies are due to start revealing last year’s bonuses post-election.

Environment Agency data uncovered there was a shocking 54% increase in the number of sewage spills last year compared to 2022. 

The proposed new regulator by the Liberal Democrats would ban all water company executive bonuses, fine water companies for sewage pollution and ensure the industry is fully transparent with the public over their polluting habits. 

The regulator would be applicable to the water industry in England and Wales. 

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said: 

“It is time to get rid of this toothless and weak regulator that is sitting idly by while water firms destroy our rivers and beaches with filthy sewage.

“This is a national scandal which has got far worse under the Conservatives’ watch. Their record is one of rising sewage levels and water firms stuffing their pockets with cash. 

“The Liberal Democrats have led the campaign against sewage, with our plans for a new regulator, an end to disgraceful bonuses and profits, and a focus on protecting our previous environment.

“This election is our chance to kick out this awful Conservative Government and deliver the fair deal people deserve, including an end to the appalling sewage scandal.”



Environment Agency data on sewage spills 

Liberal Democrat analysis of water company financial records on bonus payouts 

Water & Sewage Company Executive Remuneration Total - 19/20, 20/21, 21/22, 22/23 (since the last election)


Base Pay

Bonuses, Benefits and Incentives


Total Exec Remuneration per Company

Anglian Water





Northumbrian Water





Severn Trent Water





Southern Water





South West Water





Thames Water





United Utilities





Wessex Water










Dwr Cymru / Welsh Water





Total (England + Wales)








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