Ian Lucas

Your Labour Member of Parliament for Wrexham

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Water company bosses' pay packet shock

Dee Valley Water workers are paying the price of multi-million pound salaries paid to senior executives of their new parent company, Severn Trent Water.

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Figures I have uncovered show that, in 2015-16, Ian Plenderleith, the then Chief Executive of Dee Valley Water, the water company which served the Wrexham area until its recent takeover, was paid £217,000 in the year.

However, in the same period Liv Garfield, the Chief Executive of Severn Trent Water – which recently took over Dee Valley Water – was paid more than ten times that amount at £2,433,2000.

It emerged last week that 14 Dee Valley Water workers could lose their jobs following the recent hostile takeover.

I opposed the takeover so strongly because I knew this would happen. Severn Trent wants to cut costs to maximise its profit and its senior executives are paid on the basis of maximising return to shareholders. The interests of workers, customers and the local community are secondary, if considered at all. The amount of money that some large firms pay their Chief Executives is truly staggering. The head of the large corporate giant which recently took over our local water firm was paid ten times more than the head of the firm she took over.

What that takeover means for Wrexham is that 14 jobs are already under threat, and local people who paid into a local firm are now seeing their money go towards a multi-million pound annual salary for a utilities giant where decisions are taken a long way from the communities they affect. And we all have no choice but to contribute to salaries through our water bills.

I fail to see how such a culture of boardroom excess benefits my constituents. We need a reform of takeover rules to allow businesses to take into account the interests of local communities – not just shareholder profit – when decisions on the future of monopoly providers of essential utilities are concerned.  And we need regulators who do not simply rollover and accept takeovers at the behest of the utility giants.

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