Scottish Water bubbles up to 'best performance yet', £100m in surplus
SCOTTISH Water cut leaks by almost 100 million litres a day and reported a surplus of more than £100 million over the last year in its "best performance yet", according to its annual report published yesterday.
• Geoff Aitkenhead at Glencorse water works yesterday. Picture: Jane Barlow
The utility's annual accounts and report also claimed that water quality in Scotland was at an all time high, while householders were paying less for their supply than those south of the Border.
But the encouraging aspects of the report led to renewed calls for Scottish Water to be mutualised and taken out of the public sector.
Chief executive Richard Ackroyd said: "The past year has been one of real achievement for Scottish Water, with targets beaten and expectations not only met but often surpassed.
"Our overall performance has never been better. We've beaten the customer service targets set for us by the regulator by over 20 per cent and can now match the performance of the rest of Britain's water companies."
The organisation claimed water quality had improved with 99.83 per cent of samples meeting standards.
The surplus of 107m was nearly 20m lower than in the previous year – a difference that could be explained by a planned increase in depreciation charges associated with major investment projects.
The report also revealed that Scottish households paid more than 740m in water bills last year, an increase of more than 30m on the previous year's total.
Scottish Water said that on average each householder paid 324 for water and waste water services – 15 less than the typical bill in England.
On average each household pays the public utility firm 324 a year for water and waste water services, less than 1 a day.
In 2009-10, Scottish Water received 737.4m from domestic customers, up 32.7 million on the year before.
Last year, the firm invested almost 650m on treatment works, water mains, sewers and networks across Scotland, supporting about 5,000 construction jobs. The firm said it had improved its overall performance rating by 76 per cent since 2006 and that customer satisfaction increased to 82 per cent, its highest level.
The report confirmed that the chief executive Richard Ackroyd was paid a total of 336,000 in 2009-10 – a reduction from the 373,000 he received the previous year. The total packages of the other executives were: Geoff Aitkenhead, 236,000; Chris Banks, 223,000; Peter Farrier, 214,000 and Douglas Millican, 237,000.
Lib Dem finance spokesman Jeremy Purvis said no-one within Scottish Water ought to be taking a bonus for the next two years. "Scottish Water's performance is now excellent, but I don't think that has been as a direct result of one member of staff," he said.
He also suggested that Scottish Water could now stop borrowing the 150m that the Scottish Government lends it each year.
"It can now stand on its own two feet and receive its borrowing from the market," he said. "That would free up 150m that we need elsewhere in the economy given the financial situation we are in.
"I welcome the fact that Scottish Water is now performing to the level that we would expect them to."
Derek Brownlee, the Tory finance spokesman : "The progress shows that Scottish Water could easily operate successfully outwith the public sector, saving taxpayers 150m a year."
Mr Ackroyd said: "The past year has been one of real achievement, with targets beaten and expectations often surpassed. Our overall performance has never been better."
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