United Utilities, which this year invested £617m and supported 1 in every 150 jobs in the region, today announced that it continued to deliver excellent operational performance over the 12 months to 31 March 2021, whilst helping record numbers of customers in financial need.

Operating across the North West, which has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the water company announced that it had supported 200,000 people with financial assistance, including a £15m extension to its social tariff and by bringing forward £71m of shareholder funds committed over the five years to 2025.

The FTSE100 company has continued to invest in skills throughout the pandemic, helping to boost long-term job prospects in the region. Over the last year, 67 new apprentices and graduates joined the company. The Warrington-based firm has embraced the Government’s Kick Start programme, helping create work opportunities for the young people hit hardest by the pandemic, by taking on board the first 20 new recruits of a total 250 over the coming 12 months.

Customer service continued to improve, with United Utilities ranked 5th out of 17 water companies by regulator Ofwat. Water supply interruptions reduced by more than half while bills fell by 5 per cent in real terms.

Environmentally, United Utilities recorded its lowest ever level of leakage and is on track to achieve a reduction of 15 per cent between 2020 and 2025. The company had no serious pollution incidents for the second year running and reduced total pollution incidents by almost a third. In its ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2030, the company reduced its emissions targets by 73% and established two tree nurseries to support its target of planting 1 million trees across 550 hectares of woodland in the next nine years.

Announcing the results, Chief Executive Steve Mogford said: “The pandemic has made this a year like no other, and the fact that the whole company has pulled together to deliver our best ever operational performance is extraordinary. As the only FTSE100 company based here, we are very aware of the role we play in supporting the North West region which has been hit harder than most by the pandemic. Everything we do contributes to a green economic recovery and we will continue to play our part in supporting North West jobs, communities and the environment.”