Skip to content

NEWS: Private water companies in England enjoy huge profits, pay little or no corporate taxes

The Guardian UK reports, “Three of Britain’s biggest water companies paid little or no tax on their profits last year while generously rewarding their executives and investors… Thames Water and Anglian Water paid no corporation tax on the profits made from their utility businesses while Yorkshire Water kept its payments to the Revenue in the low millions. All the companies made hundreds of millions of pounds in operating profits and some have rewarded their senior executives with performance-related bonuses and investors with huge dividends. …The figures will be particularly galling for taxpayers because the water companies implement price rises every year linked to the retail price index by the regulator Ofwat and in effect have a monopoly in their areas.”

“Thames Water … enjoyed a £76m tax rebate last year, despite making operating profits of £650m and warning of big future price rises. …Anglian Water … paid no corporation tax on its regulated water business in the financial year ending in March. …Yorkshire Water, which made an operating profit of £303m in 2012, paid £2.9m in tax on its water profits last year…”

In February, the British regulator approved an average increase of 5.7 percent to household water and sewerage bills. It has been estimated that the total arrears ‘owed’ to water companies by customers who can’t afford their bills is more than $2 billion.

The Canada Pension Plan owns one-third of Anglian Water. Thames Water is owned by an Australian global investment banking conglomerate. The ownership of Yorkshire Water is complicated, but can be traced to a German asset infrastructure fund.

For a February 2012 campaign blog – NEWS: Canadian pension funds and privatized water in England – please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=13343. The Guardian UK article is at http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/nov/10/water-companies-tax?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038.