Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Water Charges will push greater numbers into poverty

21 September, 2004

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on poverty, North Belfast MLA Kathy Stanton, commenting on a report from the charity Help The Aged has agreed that the British government's plans to introduce water charges in the Six counties will push many older people and families on low incomes further into poverty.

Ms. Stanton said:

"The report produced by Help the Aged confirms what Sinn Fein has been saying all along - that those who suffer from the worst forms of social exclusion stand to be victimized even further by these water tax proposals from the British government.

"For decades, the British government has been guilty of failing to invest properly in our services. Now, the NIO are determined to force us to pay for their failures.

"The British government's suggestion of a 25% rebate for pensioners and those on low incomes is totally inadequate. 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.

"Sinn Féin is totally opposed to the introduction of water charges as there is overwhelming evidence that the less well-off will inevitably suffer disproportionately as a result of such stealth taxes. It is clear that what is proposed is a form of taxation that will hit those least able to pay proportionately harder - people on low incomes and particul;arly senior citizens will be pushed further into poverty as a direct result of water taxes.

"We will continue to resist vigorously all attempts to introduce these unjust service charges." ENDS

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