Water charges on the way

On a Daily Politics discussion on the economy in the run up to the election, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson of the DUP made it crystal clear that, in his opinion, the Assembly Executive will introduce water charges. He admitted that the charges have only been deferred, not scrapped, and went on to say that “when they are introduced” it must be on the basis of “fairness”.

With huge public opposition to water charges, you might have expected the other politicians to round on Wilson to score some political points. But instead Mitchell McLaughlin of Sinn Fein and the representatives of the other main parties also categorically refused to rule out the charges, while of course echoing Wilson’s mantra that they must be “fair”. This is a far cry from their election manifestos of 2007, when all the main parties posed as opponents of the double tax, despite having already signed up to them in principle.

The Alliance Party’s David Ford has perhaps been the most forthright in pushing for water charges to be introduced, stating that they are “inevitable” and that continued deferral is “not financially sustainable.” Alliance claim that holding the charges off is costing the £200 million per year. Interestingly, this is the same amount that their proposed cut in corporation tax – a policy also supported by the other main parties – would remove from Northern Ireland’s block grant from Westminster. In other words, they want to squeeze more money from ordinary people – pushing many to the wire – so they can give even more handouts to big business. In reality, Alliance are just saying what all the other parties mean in a more “honest” way.

It is now obvious that the Assembly Executive intend to introduce water charges in the near future. This will not be to provide funds for investment in the infrastructure of the water service. This could easily be found by removing corporate rates exemptions, subsidies to big business which cost hundreds of millions every year. Working-class people have been paying for the water service through their rates for decades. Water charges are aimed at making NI Water profitable and handing it fully over to the private sector vultures who already have a huge stake in it.

Working-class communities must now begin to get organised through the We Won’t Pay Campaign to refuse to pay the charges whenever they are introduced. It was the threat of non-payment which scared the politicians into deferring the charges for 4 years, and this tactic can defeat the charges and deliver the right-wing Executive a bloody nose.

 

Visit the campaign online

Total
0
Shares
Previous Article

InDepth - Europe in crisis

Next Article

EXCLUSIVE: Plans to close Woodstock library leaked

Related Posts

UPDATE- Venue of picket against health cuts changed!

New Location: Knockbracken Health Care Park, Saintfield Road
9.30am, Thursday 25th March


The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has changed the location of Thursday's meeting of the Executive Board at the last minute from Knockbreda to Knockbracken Health Care Park. The Socialist Party has organised a picket outside the meeting to highlight and oppose the cuts being implemented by the board, and a petition will be delivered to the Chief Executive.

Stand up to homophobia

To the editor, The Impartial Reporter,

I'm sure I wasn't the only reader of your paper to be disgusted by the homophobic content in the letter from Patrick Maguire in last week's paper.

It is estimated widely that approximately one in ten people are born homosexual and that this ratio is similar pretty much around the world. As a result of widespread hostility and prejudice, many homosexual people suffer from unremitting bullying, isolation and rejection from their families and communities. The situation in Fermanagh is known to be particularly grave in this regard.

A determined fight from unions needed to stop government onslaught

The Budget will, if the Government gets its way, mark the first of four where working people, the unemployed and those who depend on public services will be crucified over an economic crash they did not cause. The palpable anger this is causing in society generally can be seen in the threat by the Garda Representative Association to ballot for industrial action.

The national day of strike action of public service unions on 24 November could have marked the beginning of a serious fightback which, had it been further escalated and broadened out into a protest movement involving all working people and the unemployed, could have forced a serious retreat by this hated government or even have brought it down.