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Money flows for water bosses

7th September 2010 @ 7:07am – by Audlem Webteam
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Local customers of United Utilities will be relieved that the hosepipe ban that afflicted England's wettest region has now been lifted. They will also be delighted to hear that the water company's three senior executives who imposed the ban have limited their pay increases this year to a miserly 37%.

These rises are despite it taking well over a year to carry out the work on Audlem's sewer in Shropshire Street near the fire station which we have been told has had to be delayed because of a shortage of funds.

Fortunately, customers only have to stump up an inflation busting 6% increase to fund these pay rises, such modest pay hikes that we are sure the company will insist that in these difficult times they've fully demonstrated that we're all in this together.

This week's Sunday Times reported that Philip Green, the company's chief executive, was the highest-paid water boss in the country last year. The newspaper says his total pay rose by 37% to £1.7m, including a bonus of £924,900.

We are sure that all local water users will agree that it's an almost impossible challenge running a local monopoly with the incredibly complex technical challenges of supplying a product that falls from the skies and conveying it along aging pipes while only losing 25 – 30% through leakage.

It seems, on reflection, we are fortunate in the extreme that this challenge is being met so successfully by one of Britain's highest paid utility bosses. After all, he only has two other £million plus paid colleagues, Charlie Cornish and Tim Weller, to help him.

Those taking note of such things will recall that after United Utilities introduced their hosepipe ban on 9th July, a few days before St Swithin's Day, it rained pretty well nonstop for the rest of July and much of August. Since lifting the ban ten days ago, it's hardly rained until last night!

Perhaps it's this remarkable control of weather patterns that makes Philip Green and his two senior colleagues worth so much. OK, they failed to conserve water to get us through the summer; had near-record levels of leaks; dumped sewage on numerous streets in Manchester; saw floods in areas of Merseyside rarely flooded before; and, of course, failed to work on Audlem's main sewer despite promising to do so over a year ago – but they did bring on the summer deluge with their hosepipe ban.

With that record, it's worth customers wondering whether United Utilities could operate just as effectively without three such extraordinarily well paid executives at the helm – just like in those modest water corporations of yore. Or simply by watching out for St Swithin's Day.

But then again, maybe it's that miserable 37% pay rise that's at fault – perhaps they simply weren't paid enough. After all, at the top of United Utilities it seems they really do need an enormous bonus to do the job they've already been paid to do. The trouble is, we pay for it – through the nose. And the hose!

This article is from our news archive. As a result pictures or videos originally associated with it may have been removed and some of the content may no longer be accurate or relevant.

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