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REVEALED: UK ‘fat cat’ power bosses pocketed £30million last year

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REVEALED: UK ‘fat cat’ power bosses pocketed £30million last year as struggling households are warned energy price cap could hit £7,700 in April

Bosses of Shell, BP and National Grid are among the top earners of seven energy and utility firms in the FTSE 100 index of leading companies on the stock market

The five energy and power companies make up £23million of the total
Ben van Beurden, the chief executive of Shell, made £6.2m in pay and bonuses 

By FRANCESCA WASHTELL DEPUTY CITY EDITOR FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY PUBLISHED: 22:27, 27 August 2022 | UPDATED: 00:46, 28 August 2022

The bosses of Britain’s biggest energy and utility companies pocketed an eye-watering £30million in pay between them last year as hard-pressed families nationwide face an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis.

The bosses of Shell, BP and National Grid are among the top earners of seven energy and utility firms in the FTSE 100 index of leading companies on the stock market.

The five energy and power companies make up £23million of the total, and two water companies make up £7 million.

Ben van Beurden, the Dutch chief executive of Shell, made £6.2million in pay and bonuses. His arch rival, Bernard Looney at BP, who sparked fury when he described the oil giant as a ‘cash machine’, netted almost £4.5million last year. John Pettigrew, who is in charge of National Grid, which operates the electricity transmission network, pocketed £6.5million.

Revelations of the largesse showered on energy chiefs will infuriate Britain’s struggling families, who learned on Friday that the average energy bill will rise in October to £3,549, an increase of 80 per cent.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has warned that even middle earners on £45,000 a year may also need help with their energy bills.

The pay revelations form one aspect of a forthcoming investigation by The Mail on Sunday into the rewards handed to the men and women running Britain’s top 100 companies. Our report, which will be published in full next weekend, is based on an analysis of the annual reports of the blue-chip firms.

The rewards will come under close scrutiny as Britain heads into what will be the most difficult winter in generations.

Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre, said: ‘People will understandably have limited tolerance for companies lavishing millions on top executives while taking more money from the pockets of everyone. We’re getting to a point where excessive top pay is a potential cause of social instability.’

And there is worse to come, as analysts predict the price cap will reach £7,700 in April. Inflation is hitting double digits at 10.1 per cent and there are predictions it could reach 18.6 per cent next year.

Energy titans BP and Shell have hauled in huge profits as oil and gas prices have soared. BP reported its biggest quarterly profit for 14 years at around £7billion earlier this year. Boss Bernard Looney’s bumper pay packet included a £2.4million bonus.

Shell also made huge profits, of nearly £10bn, in the second quarter of this year and awarded Ben van Beurden a £2.2million bonus as part of his lucrative package. Power producer SSE handed its boss Alistair Phillips-Davies £4.5million. And Centrica, which owns British Gas, paid its boss Chris O’Shea £875,000 in 2021, which is a relatively modest sum by FTSE 100 standards, after the multi-million pound rewards for his predecessors were lambasted by politicians and the public.

Consumer champion Martyn James said: ‘CEO pay has never been more under the microscope. And rightly so, because the level of fury about the frankly obscene pay packets revealed by this investigation will be relentless and unforgiving.’

He added: ‘Increasingly, the people I speak to want to know what these executives are doing to justify such payments, particularly after a period of austerity and pandemic restrictions.

A Shell spokesman said: ‘We recognise the burden that increased prices have on people, in particular on vulnerable consumers and communities, and understand concerns around the profits which the current market situation is driving.

‘We’re doing everything we can to help customers, including a multi-million pound hardship fund.’

Last night, Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake, a member of the Commons Treasury Committee, branded the salary and bonus levels ‘horrendous’. He said they would only fuel the case for another windfall tax on oil and gas producers. He told the MoS: ‘At a time when so many are scared witless over how they will pay for heating this winter, this looks horrendous. Pay cheques this size only add to the argument for another windfall tax.’

FULL ARTICLE

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