Yorkshire Water
to Chop 500 Jobs

Yorkshire Water is to axe 500 jobs during the next year in a move to cut costs after watchdogs ordered water companies to reduce household bills.

Severn Trent has already announced the loss of 1,100 jobs and other water companies are expected to follow suit after the Ofwat regulator demanded a 12 per cent cut in the average bill by next April.

A spokesman for Yorkshire Water's owners, Kelda, said the jobs would be  shed from all divisions of the company.

Unions are angry that shareholders' profits are being put before jobs and have called on environment minister Michael Meacher to intervene.

Chris Kaufman, of the Transport and General Workers Union, said: "The trickle of job losses is now growing into a flood. It is clear that water companies are choosing to protect shareholders rather than jobs and the environment."

Kelda chairman, Brandon Gough, said Yorkshire Water was ready to meet the Ofwat efficiency demands: "The targets set are challenging but achievable and we have decided to accept the outcome."

Kelda employs 2,700 water workers and the job cuts coincided with a jump in half-yearly profits and dividends for shareholders.

Pre-tax profits in the six months to September 30 were 122.2 million compared to 117.6 million at the same stage last year.