Cross Party delegation to discuss Water Charges with NIO Minister
Sinn Féin MLAs Philip McGuigan and Kathy Stanton will be part of a cross party delegation, including all of the other main political parties, and Amicus meeting British Direct Rule Minister David Cairns today, Tuesday 30th May, to convey the strength of opposition to the imposition of a separate water charge, due to take effect in April 2007.
The meeting has been convened by the trade union Amicus.
Mr. McGuigan said:
"Today's meeting is part of the concerted effort by Amicus and the main political parties to outline the serious consequences that flow from the decision to impose this water tax and the privatisation agenda. There is huge opposition to the imposition of this stealth tax, which is a form of double taxation.
"The proposed so-called 'reform' agenda will amount to de facto privatisation of the North's Water Service. There are also no guarantees for employees of the Water Service within the newly formed Government Owned Company (Go Co).
"This type of partnership approach is what is required in the weeks and months ahead."
North Belfast MLA, Kathy Stanton welcoming today's meeting added:
"There are deep reservations at the timing of the entire water reform agenda and concerns about the adverse impact these plans hold for many households in socially deprived communities.
"The levels of social and economic deprivation in my own community of North Belfast are well documented.
"Rate payers have contributed 37% of the domestic rating system for decades, towards water and sewage infrastructure, yet they are now being penalised because this money was not invested. Would David Cairns own constituents of Inverclyde be happy to pay for water and sewerage services twice?
"Imposing water charges will slowly but surely send those households facing real poverty on a daily basis greater risk of water poverty. Government is failing to live up to its equality commitments and its dire attempts to tackle New TSN policy." ENDS