Responding to the publication of the draft Water and Sewerage Services (NI) Order by the Minister for Regional Development, the Consumer Council believes that the Government has missed a golden opportunity to introduce the developer pays principle in a fair way. The Consumer Council cautioned that there is real potential of eroding the confidence of the 700,000 households who will now have to pay more than they should because of the way the Government is implementing this policy.
The Consumer Council today applauded the introduction of a unique Government funded £30 million protection scheme for vulnerable water consumers – the first of its kind in the UK.
The Consumer Council today welcomed the announcement of a one-year delay in the Government’s timetable for the introduction of water and sewerage charges by Minister for Regional Development, Shaun Woodward.
Citybeat’s Maurice Jay brought a smile to the faces of seventeen budding young artists recently when he hosted The Consumer Council’s ‘Use Water Wisely’ schools’ poster competition awards presentation.
The Consumer Council today called on the Minister for Regional Development, Shaun Woodward, to announce a one-year delay in the introduction of water charges.
The Consumer Council says that the Government needs to take more time to allow for an open and considered debate on how it proposes to introduce water charges in the fairest way possible.
Eleanor Gill, Chief Executive at the Consumer Council said: “For the ordinary person in the street, this news of a 9 per cent increase in rates in itself is worrying. However, when you look at this rates hike (almost three times above inflation*) alongside pending water charges it is doubly worrying, particularly for those who are struggling to make ends meet.
The General Consumer Council has welcomed today’s Belfast Telegraph report of a proposed delay to the introduction of water charges here. However, the Council says if there is to be a delay, it must be used to get the system right.
The General Consumer Council believes an immediate delay to the Government’s water reform agenda is needed in order to get it right. It believes that full and proper consultation on water reform has been short-circuited by the Government’s publication of its Integrated Impact Assessment today.
The General Consumer Council has today launched its consumer proposals for the reform of water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland. It is also repeating its call to delay the introduction of direct charging.
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