Labour lambasts 'fat cats'

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The Independent Online
The Labour Party will this morning raise the temperature in the increasingly heated debate about "fat cat" salaries when it publishes full details of the pounds 20m pay and perks package it claims the privatised water companies have pushed through for their directors.

Frank Dobson, the shadow environment secretary, plans to give a break- down of the salaries, bonuses, pension fund contributions, share options and long-term incentive schemes of all water company directors including non-executives.

The news follows yesterday's revelation in the Independent on Sunday that a recent Labour Party survey found that a dozen directors in 10 water companies last year received total remuneration packages worth more than pounds 500,000.

According to Labour's figures, Sir Desmond Pitcher, chairman of United Utilities which covers the North-west of England, could get pounds 954,905 while Nicholas Hood, chairman of Wessex Water, stands to pick up pounds 662,852.

Labour is also bound to seize on research by the Independent on Sunday which highlights the water companies' continuing poor record on pollution.

Mr Dobson's attack on the water industry comes hard on the heels of remarks made over the weekend by Gordon Brown, the shadow chancellor.

He revealed that big water firms had set up offshore subsidiaries in tax havens and called for a full Treasury inquiry into why many water companies had paid no tax for years after privatisation. Labour's offensive will also heighten concern among investors about plans to levy a windfall tax of up to pounds 5bn on the privatised utilities.