Annual report blames recession for slower projected growth and cancelled projects

United Utilities is to cut its capital spending programme from a planned £4.03bn to £3.7bn between 2010 and 2015. In its annual report for the year ending 31 March, it said: “The cuts were a result of efficiency gains of £130m, deferral and cutting of projects worth £433m, the impact of the recession on the company’s growth plans, accounting for £119m and greater future efficiency (£130m)."

It continued: “The total proposed capital expenditure programme in the final plan is £3,704 million, compared with £4,035 million in the draft plan, partly offset by the inclusion of further projects relating to sewer overflows.”

The firm also plans a 1.5% annual improvement in “underlying operating efficiency.”

Profit growth at the utilities firm grew by 12% last year from £3.7bn to £4.03bn. Underlying pre-tax profit also rose by 12% to £532m.