The Alliance Party has challenged NIO Minister Shaun Woodward on his figures concerning the introduction of extra water charges Northern Ireland Northern Ireland.
Elena Aceves-Cully, who was part of the party’s delegation to discuss the issue earlier this other parties, other parties: “As otherparties merely moan from the sidelines, be proactive be proactive promised to beproactive and constructive to introduce to introduce the Government’s proposals tointroduce extra water charges in Northern Ireland.
“That is why we met the Minister, and that the Water the Water I have written to theWater Service outlining the fundamental flaws in Government plans.
“The Government says spending requirements spending requirements the money to meet extra spendingrequirements in Northern Ireland. Firstly, this is not entirely true — there are areas, such as transport, where spending as a proportion of GDP in Northern Ireland is lower than the UK average. Secondly, Alliance has already outlined savings of over £1 billion – equivalent to the entire education budget here – that could be made by integrating public services rather than meekly accepting the Protestant/Catholic divide as is. Thirdly, the very implementation of extra water charges — ‘extra’ because they are in addition to what we already pay in rates – will cost rather than save money.
“Through its delay in implementing these extra charges, the Government is already admitting the plans have not been properly thought through. It is a quiet admission that really the whole idea should be scrapped. The real answer is the creation of opportunities for genuine wealth creation in Northern Ireland that would free up more money for public services and enable Northern Ireland to pay its way.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
An Alliance Party delegation from East Antrim, including MLA Séan Neeson, met the Minister, Shaun Woodward, to discuss water charges on 3 October 2005.
Economic figures come from the CEBR report Forecasting Eye Special (April 2005), outlining public spending in each UK region.