Residents and politicians have slammed Southern Water after it was revealed the firm’s executives got nearly £600,000 in pay-outs last year.

Analysis of Company House records shows the firm paid £587,000 in total earnings to its four executives during the financial year 2022/2023.

In July this year, the company’s chief executive and chief financial officer both declined a bonus for the year to March 2023, after calls from campaigners not to award bonuses until seawater quality improved.

Despite this residents and politicians say it is still not acceptable the firm is paying out nearly £600,000 in total remuneration to its four executives.

Since 2020 the company paid its executives in base pay, pensions, and bonuses over £4,600,000 according to Company House records.

In September, the company apologised after thousands of litres of raw sewage poured into the Beaulieu River flooding the entrance to the New Forest Golf Club as a result of a raw sewage main burst.

Last week, 18,000 homes in the New Forest area were left without water in the wake of Storm Ciaran which saw the company not being able to cope with volumes of rainwater.

Daily Echo: Diane Tillett, 84Diane Tillett, 84 (Image: Newsquest)

Diane Tillett, 84, from Hythe had to brush her teeth with sparkling water after not having water for around two days.

Reacting to the figures, she said: “I was left without water for 48 hours and if I didn’t have my neighbours and if I didn’t have a car, I wouldn’t have had any water as I didn’t get any call from Southern Water to check on me to see if I was doing okay.

“They have released sewage into such lovely areas and they shouldn’t be giving them these big pays if the company is polluting places in the area.”

Daily Echo: Liz Jarvis, Liberal Democrat MP candidate for EastleighLiz Jarvis, Liberal Democrat MP candidate for Eastleigh

'Insulting pay-outs'

The Lib Dem parliamentary candidate For Eastleigh, Liz Jarvis, said: “Our local waterways are being pumped full of raw disgusting sewage, all whilst the water firm hand themselves insulting pay-outs.

"The whole thing stinks. These salaries and perks have reached eye-watering levels, yet Conservative Ministers refuse to act."

It comes as a report by the water services regulator, Ofwat, published on Wednesday listed Southern Water as being one of three companies in England to have achieved or exceeded 80 per cent alignment between pay and performance.

A spokesperson for the water firm said: “We would like to reassure customers, that contrary to some reports, Southern Water has paid no external dividends to shareholders since 2017, meaning all profit has been reinvested in our business for the last six years.

“Furthermore, our majority shareholder’s investment of £1.6bn support is allowing us to spend £3bn between 2020 and 2025 – or £1,500 per household - to improve our network.

“Our Executive bonus payments are linked to clear environmental and customer service targets, and our Chief Executive declined a bonus this year as we continue on our Turnaround Plan journey.

“This week we were commended by Ofwat for being one of just three companies to have achieved or exceeded 80 per cent alignment between pay and performance.”