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Water company bosses back reform proposals

Water cropped

Water company bosses have backed regulator Ofwat’s recommendations to crack down on the use of tax havens and excessive profits in the industry. 

Senior industry figures met environment secretary Michael Gove this week and Water UK confirmed its support of Ofwat’s proposals to tighten standards over complex financial structures.

The group also welcomes Ofwat’s plan to set out ’clear and appropriate dividend policies’ and explain bonuses and performance pay by referencing ’exceptional delivery for customers’. 

Water UK chief executive Michael Roberts said: “Water companies take their responsibility to work in the public interest very seriously.

“Research shows that there are high overall levels of trust in the industry, but there is more to do on financial issues and the environment where about three out of four people trust us to get things right.

“Companies fully support the need to resolve concerns about financing and governance arrangements in the sector and are already taking swift action.

“We also want to build on our past investment of billions to deliver cleaner beaches and rivers, by investing in further improvements and taking action such as the industry’s free drinking water initiative, which aims to cut plastic bottle use by tens of millions a year.”

The proposals were outlined in a letter from Ofwat chairman Jonson Cox to the environment secretary after Gove raised concerns over the use of ’opaque financial structures based in tax havens’ and excessive profits.

The companies also said they will support the government’s 25-year environment plan as the firms prepare to submit their next five-year business plans by September. 

The 25-year strategy, published in January, pledged to expand the use of natural flood management solutions, put in place more sustainable drainage systems and make at risk properties more resilient to flooding.

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