Anglian Water to axe 400 jobs to meet price curbs

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The Independent Online

Anglian Water is to axe 400 jobs or 10 per cent of its UK workforce to meet the tough new price curbs imposed on the company by the industry regulator, Ian Byatt.

Anglian Water is to axe 400 jobs or 10 per cent of its UK workforce to meet the tough new price curbs imposed on the company by the industry regulator, Ian Byatt.

The cutbacks follow a warning from the trade body, Water UK, that up to 9,000 jobs - or one in four of the industry's workforce - could be at risk as a result of the average 14 per cent reduction in bills announced in July.

A spokesman from Anglian said that the bulk of the job losses, due to take effect over the next two years, would be among white-collar and managerial staff and refused to rule out compulsory redundancies.

Natural wastage at Anglian averages 4 per cent a year so most of the job cuts could be achieved by voluntary means over the two-year period.

The job cuts at Anglian come on top of 600 threatened job losses at Hyder, the owner of Welsh Water, and a warning from Bristol Water that it may have to cut a third of its 630 staff.

Anglian has been told to cut its bills from next April by 11 per cent - equivalent to a saving of £34 on the average £277 bill. In the subsequent four years, Anglian may not increase bills by more than 2.5 per cent in real terms.

The company has also been told by Mr Byatt to reduce its operating expenditure by 16 per cent over the next five years and its capital maintenance budget by 11 per cent.

Chris Mellor, the managing director of Anglian Water, said the restructuring would also help the company take advantage of growth opportunities both in the UK and abroad.

A spokesman added that one example was the decision to spin Anglian's vehicle fleet management operations out of its regulated division, which had resulted in it winning fleet management contracts for outside organisations.

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