28 April 2005 Edition
No to water charges
The British Government's proposals to introduce water charges in the Six Counties amount to a double taxation and will hit the least well off.
If introduced and taken along with other rate increases, it will mean that in some cases people will be facing a 200% increase on what they pay at the moment.
It will also almost certainly mean the privatisation of water. We only have to look at the very high-energy costs that we have here in comparison with elsewhere to see what privatisation of essential utilities means for us.
People have been paying for water through their rates for generations, yet that investment has not been realised in maintaining and upgrading the water and sewerage system to international and European standards.
The British Government has failed to deliver the levels of investment required for infrastructure and services over the last 30 years.
Sinn Féin has and will continue to campaign against the introduction of unjust water charges and the strength of opposition among the general public is such that a broad-based campaign could stop their introduction.
The party also made the delivery of a Peace Dividend a critical part of the negotiations last December and got the British Government to agree to a substantial package.
That Peace Dividend must delivered. The primary purpose of this is to invest in job creation, support communities that have suffered greatly as a result of conflict and to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, including our water services.