Disgusted and outraged: Thames Water is debt-riddled and wants to hike water bills yet boss takes £195k bonus - this cannot carry on

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Thames Water’s chief executive, Chris Weston, has taken home a £195,000 bonus despite the water firm’s debt swelling to more than £15 billion. This is disgusting.

How is this allowed to happen? And how does Mr Weston have the audacity to defend his bonus?

The boss of Thames Water said his bonus was based “purely on performance”, as he claimed it was necessary to reward executives “to be able to attract the right talent”. How can the boss of a water company that is high in debt and wanting to charge its customers more for their water bills, receive thousands in a bonus? It is criminal and should not be allowed to happen.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bosses of water firms receiving ludicrous bonuses while the company is either slapped with fines for environmental damages, is pumping our rivers and seas with sewage or as in the case with Thames Water, is in a mountain of debt, should not happen. This needs to end - enough is enough.

Thames Water’s chief executive, Chris Weston, has taken home a £195,000 bonus despite the water firm’s debt swelling to more than £15 billion. This is disgusting. (Photo: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg/Thames Water)Thames Water’s chief executive, Chris Weston, has taken home a £195,000 bonus despite the water firm’s debt swelling to more than £15 billion. This is disgusting. (Photo: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg/Thames Water)
Thames Water’s chief executive, Chris Weston, has taken home a £195,000 bonus despite the water firm’s debt swelling to more than £15 billion. This is disgusting. (Photo: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg/Thames Water) | NationalWorld/Kim Mogg/Thames Water

What does Mr Weston mean by his ‘performance’? Thames Water was responsible for 16,990 sewage discharges last year, which was a significant increase on the 8,015 recorded in 2022. This was alongside an increase in serious pollution incidents, which rose from 331 to 350. 

Meanwhile, its annual report revealed that its debt has swelled to more than £15 billion - yet the water firm has also paid two fresh dividends worth £158.3 million in March and its profit has increased to £75.4 million.

Instead of investing any of its profits into decreasing its debt or improving its infrastructure to stop the sewage deluge in rivers, the water firm has paid huge sums of money to its bosses. Could it get any worse? How long are we going to see this kind of sham carry on?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Alastair Cochran, Thames Water’s chief financial officer, was also handed a £446,000 bonus, in part because he previously stepped in as the company’s interim co-chief executive. So fat-cat bosses are paid thousands, all the while warning that the business will run out of money by next June, and threatening to increase customers’ water bills by over 50%.

Sir Keir Starmer has vowed to crack down on Britain’s water suppliers, pledging to put failing companies into “special measures” if they do not “clean up their act” on sewage pollution. I really hope that Starmer does toughen up on the water industry and steps in to sort out the mess that is Thames Water. Nationalise the debt-riddled water firm, stop the profit before people, and foreign investors. Stop water industry bosses receiving huge bonuses when the water company is failing on all sorts of levels.

It is angering to see bosses receiving so much money when the water company is failing thousands of customers and damaging our precious waterways. Put profit before people, the lenders, shareholders and millionaire managers, down the drain. This cannot carry on.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.