Sam Laidlaw, head of Centrica, the company which owns British Gas, has said he won’t be accepting his bonus this year.
The move follows British Gas’ announcement of a 9.2% gas and electricity price rise, which is set to be implemented on the 23 November and will affect an estimated 8 million households.
Energy firms should not ‘assume it is business as normal’
In a speech at the annual CBI conference, Laidlaw emphasized the need for leadership in the energy industry.
“Just to continue in this world where households are under pressure, and assume it is business as normal, is not the way thoughtful remuneration committees think about it,” he said.
“We are listening – we get it, absolutely. We know there is a problem.”
The Independent reports that last year Laidlaw received a total of £4.95m, which was made up of just under £1 million in basic pay, £1 million in bonuses and £2.6m in share schemes. He also donated a yacht to charity ‘Toe in the Water’.
When asked if other board senior executives would give up their bonuses, Laidlaw explained that his decision was personal.
‘We do not have a market we can trust’
Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, welcomed the move and called for other big six bosses to do the same: “They should all reflect on what they are being paid not just this year, but in previous years and future years”.
“At present we do not have a market we can trust. They generate energy. They are wholesalers and retailers. They sell it to themselves before they sell it to us”.
Flint also reiterated Labour’s pledge to freeze energy prices for 20 months should the party be elected at the next general election. She added that the move would help break up the big six and create a more transparent energy market.