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Water charge must be applied fairly and evenly

The recent unacceptable performance from NI Water and their political masters has meant the return of the debate about water charges.

Why anyone would entrust the current NI Water management with any more of our money is more than I can understand.

The often-reported assertion that we do not pay for water at the moment is wrong. We pay for it in our current rates.

Unfortunately, our current rates bill is not itemised, but nor are the other items making up the other tax bills that we have to pay.

Indeed, if we give credibility to the assertion that because expenditure on a particular service is not itemised, we are not paying for it, we will be ripped off again and again.

Our water system does require considerable upgrading and the money must be found somewhere. In England, before privatisation, large sums of public money from central government were invested to bring its water system up to standard. I do not believe there is an equivalent arrangement here.

Water charges probably will be introduced some time in the future. When that happens, our rates must be reduced by the equivalent of our water usage and our water bill set by a fair method that reflects individual usage.

Any taxes that bear no relationship to the services provided should be resisted, but who can we rely upon to promote our case?

As far as I can see, that role has now fallen to the various media commentators and consumer programmes. I, for one, do not trust any MEP, MP, MLA, councillor, chief executive, ombudsman, or any of the publicly-paid overseers that we fund to represent the public.

D PREST

Belfast

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