Water companies shouldn’t be rewarding shareholders while letting the rest of us down.
That's why earlier this month I wrote to the water regulator Ofwat calling on them to start taking enforcement action against water companies that don't link their dividend payments to performance.
I'm delighted that they've listened to me and other MPs, and are going ahead with making company boards take account of their performance – for customers and the environment – when deciding whether to make dividend payments, as well as requiring companies to maintain a higher level of overall financial health.
These new powers are in addition to the far-reaching government plans set out recently, which include the largest ever infrastructure investment in water company history.
We’re making water companies invest £56 billion by 2050, as well as monitoring them like never before. That means we can find out exactly where rules are being broken, and Ofwat can fine companies up to 10% of their annual turnover. The Environment Agency can also seek criminal prosecution which can come with unlimited fines, and any fines will be put straight back into environmental projects.
People locally have been crystal clear about wanting to see water companies clean up their act, and I'm determined to see it happen.