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Praise for DUP and Sinn Fein's stance over water

Your editorial of November 19 took the Executive political parties to task for prevaricating in finalising new draft spending plans.

The editorial also identified water charges as a measure parties should consider to raise revenue. Thankfully, however, the DUP and Sinn Fein have got it right by ruling this out.

Your call to introduce water charges echoed those from the Alliance Party, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and some economists. Few, though take the trouble to spell out the important facts.

Firstly, supplying clean water to every home is a basic public service, as vital as health or education services and it's costs are rightly met by public funds.

Secondly, householders are already paying for water through regional rates bills, so it makes no sense to create a separate water billing system.

Thirdly, we can only assume those calling for water charges believe householders should start paying almost £400 a year water bills - an increase of 51% on the average rates bill of £774.

Fourthly, what about the adverse impact on the local economy if households have to meet new annual bills of £400?

It's surprising that none of the economists calling for water charges have addressed the negative impact on small businesses.

The trade union movement has deep concerns about planned cuts to public services, but at least the DUP and Sinn Fein are right in saying no to water charges.

JOHN COREY

Chairperson, Coalition against Water Charges

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