During First Ministers’ questions yesterday at the Senedd, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds challenged Labour First Minister Mark Drakeford over claims that Wales ‘is lucky’ Welsh Water is a non-profit.
Jane Dodds pointed out to the First Minister that although Dwr Cymru is non-profit is has still paid out excessively large bonuses for its executives in recent years on top of an already high base salary and that the Welsh Government should be given a stronger oversight to the organisation.
After consistent public and political pressure, including from the Liberal Democrats, Welsh Water announced its CEO will forgo bonuses this year. However, Peter Perry (chief executive), Mike Davis (chief financial officer) and Chris Jones (executive director) took home performance-related bonuses worth £931,000 during the last two years, which in addition to base salary means the three men shared pay packets totalling £2.6m over two years.
This is despite the company pumping raw sewage into Welsh waterways 100,000 times during the last 12 months alone and several Welsh rivers such as the Wye, Usk and Teifi being in extremely poor health.
Jane Dodds also called for powers over water to be fully devolved to Wales so the Senedd could have better oversight of water pollution.
Commenting Jane Dodds MS said:
“While Mark Drakeford is right to say Welsh Water is a non-profit, it is wrong to suggest that this means there isn’t large amounts of money being diverted from the network into bonuses for chief executives.
“In many ways, Welsh Water’s ‘non-profit’ status is hiding the problem. Meanwhile, children are playing in rivers full of sewage and farmers are being blamed by Labour politicians.
“It is galling for so many of us that as we see our water bills rise, sewage dumping in our rivers and seas has increased, alongside the bonuses for water company bosses.
“We should have to rely on CEO’s doing us ‘a favour’ by foregoing their bonuses, there needs to be mu