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Sinn Fein welcome call from Federation of Small Business for scrapping of Water Charges

26 August, 2004

Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MLA Francie Molloy, who heads the party's campaign against water charges has welcomed the call from the Federation of Small Businesses for British direct rule ministers to scrap their plans to introduce water charges.

Mr Molloy said:

"I welcome this move from the Federation of Small Businesses calling for the

scrapping of NIO plans to impose water charges. Direct rule ministers must scrap the current plans to impose water charges. The British government are guilty of failing to invest properly in our services for decades. Now, the NIO are determined to force us to pay for their failures.

"These plans will hit the most vulnerable in our society hardest and they will damage small businesses that are already struggling with high rates, electricity and insurance costs.

"British NIO Ministers are showing their true undemocratic colours in trying to force through the water taxes in the face of almost total opposition from across the political spectrum, from trade unions and from the public. But then again they have no mandate to take any of the decisions that they are currently forcing on us.

"It is time for the NIO and British direct rule Ministers to listen to people here. While I accept that they are completely unaccountable even the permanent government within the NIO and the imported British Ministers can understand that to proceed with the water tax plans and privatisation plans is both untenable and would be a political disaster.

"In comparison to other models of managing water services the British government stands accused of treating everyone who lives in the North of Ireland as a second class citizen. If the British government continue with these plans Sinn Féin will lead a campaign against their introduction. We will also ensure that in the negotiations next month that the entire issue of British Treasury financing of all of our services is on the agenda." ENDS

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