Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Speller comes clean on British Treasury water charge threats

6 January, 2005

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson, Mid Ulster MLA Francie Molloy who heads the party's anti-water charges campaign has said that direct rule minister John Speller has come clean on the financial threats he is using to push forward his plans to impose water charges and that rather than issue such threats he should be fighting to secure the required level of funding needed to address decades of under funding.

Mr Molloy said:

"John Speller is dishonest when he makes comparisons between rates bills here and local revenue raised through council tax and water charges in Britain. Not only are there plans to introduce inflation busting rates increases that will significantly increase the local tax burden there is also clearly no comparison between the services provided at local government level here and in Britain.

"Rather than issue financial threats that somewhere in the region of £600 million will be lost if people refuse to accept his water tax plans, Mr Speller should be explaining why direct rule ministers and the British government have refused to secure adequate resources for our public services and to tackle the infrastructure deficit created by successive British administrations.

"From day one John Speller has been dishonest and his sums just do not add up. It is nonsense to argue that taking the decision not to water taxes introduced in 2006 would have such a dire consequence because they would in no way generate the £600 million figure that Mr Speller is threatening people with over the 2006-2009 financial cycle.

"There are many alternatives to the privatisation agenda being pursued by the British Treasury. Sadly John Speller and his cohorts have refused to examine them. We have been paying for our water services through rates which has inbuilt relief systems that are fair and equitable. What is required is significant additional central expenditure similar to that seen in Wales prior to the creation of a not for profit company there.

"The British government has under funded our core public services for decades and has failed to invest in our infrastructure it is wrong of them to now penalise us for their failure." ENDS

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