UNITED Utilities water boss pocketed more than £2 million last year despite increasing consumer bills, according to general trade union GMB.

But a spokesperson for the Lingley Mere-based company stressed that this was directly linked to the delivery of stretching targets for customer service and environmental performance.

An investigation by GMB revealed that Steve Mogford, chief executive of United Utilities, earned almost £14 million in salary, bonuses, pensions and other benefits over the past six years.

The figures come from a joint investigation into company accounts by GMB and Corporate Watch, which were released today, Monday, as part of GMB’s Take Back The Tap campaign to bring England’s privatised water industry back into public ownership.

While water bosses pocketed these salaries, the National Audit Office reported that consumer water bills in England and Wales have increased by 40 per cent above inflation since privatisation in 1989.

Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, said: "Thirty years on from Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation of water it is clear this ideological experiment is a complete flop.

"Customers are forking out millions to private water's top brass through their ever-increasing bills, while billions of gallons are wasted every year and we get whacked by hosepipe bans in the summer.

"I'm not sure how much more evidence is needed to show that this is just not working.

"It's time to Take Back the Tap - water is a natural monopoly, that every home, family and individual needs, it should be in public hands not used for shareholder profit."

A United Utilities spokesperson said: "Steve Mogford’s remuneration is directly linked to the delivery of stretching targets for customer service and environmental performance and United Utilities has achieved leading status in both.

"Customer bills have fallen in real terms over the last 10 years - and will continue falling over the next five years; we have met or beaten our leakage targets for the last 13 years in a row; and in this current five-year price review period we will have spent more than £150 million to support 147,000 financially vulnerable customers."