Frank Field MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, has written to utilities regulator Ofwat, querying proposals by Anglian Water and United Utilities to “close their defined benefit pension schemes while continuing to make large distributions to shareholders.”
In a letter to Ofwat chief executive, Rachel Fletcher, Labour MP Mr Field wrote: “Water and sewerage companies are natural monopolies which are subject to no competition.
“They hold a privileged position as long-term licence-holders enjoying large and predictable cashflows from a captive consumer base.
“There appears to be no effective restraint on these firms’ policy of distributing massive sums to shareholders while cutting the pension benefits that their employees are counting on for their retirement.”
The letter also drew attention to Anglian Water’s last five sets of annual reports, which show after tax profits of £1.6bn, with £0.8bn being paid to shareholders.
United Utilities also reported total after tax profits of £1.6bn, with £1.2bn paid in dividends, the letter stated.