Responding to the news that the Treasury has vetoed proposals by the NI Secretary of State to significantly increase rates to cushion the blow of water charges, Alliance Party Finance Spokesman Seamus Close MLA stated:
“Many people suspected that the public consultation over water reform was fraudulent. Now we know it is.
“There are dirty dealings going on here, and no matter how water reform pans out, the victims are still going to be the poorer Northern Ireland taxpayers, who are still awaiting the peace dividend to come through. All they see are stealth taxes being introduced, rates going up and fuel costs increasing.
“I am also curious to know what rules the Treasury is referring to when it accuses the NIO of trying to “get round the rules” by increasing rates to soften the blow of water charges. If the Secretary of State recognises that water charges are going to have such a drastic impact, it shows just how out of touch the Treasury’s absentee landlords are with the public mood.”