Poverty rates demand rethink on water charges

Alliance Party Local Government Whip Stewart Dickson has said Government figures released today on poverty levels in Northern Ireland mean there must be a Government re-think on water charges.

The Carrickfergus Councillor stated: “Today we see yet another Government report on poverty in Northern Ireland, yet we see precious little Government action.

“Indeed, my party has campaigned at length pointing out that what the Government is doing is precisely the opposite of tackling poverty – hitting the disadvantaged in our society with rates rises and water charges while throwing away the money gained on segregated facilities and services.

“Figures showing, for example, that 40% of pensioners get by on a weekly income below £300 without access to benefits mean Government must rethink its policy on water charges.

“As a bare minimum, the rates relief offered to disadvantaged people in our society must also apply to water charges.

“To bring in water charges without relief on the back of the statistics published today would be an act of the highest callousness.”


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