Dickson – Wilson has acknowledged that Alliance is right on water charges

Alliance Regional Development spokesperson Stewart Dickson MLA has welcomed the comments from the former Finance Minister Sammy Wilson, that there will be a looming financial black hole if we continue to oppose some form of water charging.

The NI Executive provided a subsidy worth £275 million to NI Water this year in lieu of not implementing water charges.

Stewart Dickson MLA said: “I am glad to see that Sammy Wilson has acknowledged that the Alliance Party has been right all along on water charges. While others have wished to stick their head in the sand, we have faced up to the reality of the situation.

“It is not financially viable for us to continue to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to cover the cost of providing water to even the richest in our society at the expense of our schools and hospitals.

“In theory, we are already paying for water through an underfunded health and education system. These arrangements also limit investment in our water and sewerage infrastructure, which is urgently needed following flooding in recent years.

“Further deferrals of water charges will lead to more budgetary constraints and neglect of our water system. The issue should no longer be about whether water charges are introduced, but rather ensuring that they are fair and linked to the ability to pay.

“A system of fair charging would ensure that services do not suffer and the most vulnerable do not have to foot the bill.

“Now that Sammy Wilson has acknowledged this, I hope that his successor Simon Hamilton will take heed of these comments and actually do something about it.”


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