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Campaigns: Water Charges

No to water charges!
Join the We Won’t Pay Campaign

The politicians in the Assembly are now openly speaking about imposing water charges on householders in April 2011. This additional bill will be in the region of £369 a year - but once they are introduced they will go like the gas and electricity prices and increase once they are fully brought in.

Householders already pay for water through our rates. The introduction of water charges will be a double-tax. Even though the politicians were told in no uncertain terms that the overwhelming majority of people are opposed to water charges, it seems they are now preparing to introduce them. They need to be reminded that they have no right to do so - there is no mandate to introduce water charges.

People are already crippled with high gas and electricity bills. Unemployment and wage cuts have seen working class peoples incomes savaged, and now the MLA’s in Stormont want to take more out of our pockets.

Mass opposition against water charges
The We Won’t Pay Campaign has successfully built mass support for non-payment of water charges since 2003. This campaign has been responsible for forcing the British Government and the Assembly to defer water charges for the past 4 years. This has saved every household hundreds of pounds.

Join the We Won’t Pay Campaign
The We Won’t Pay Campaign believes the politicians can still be forced to scrap water charges through a mass boycott of water charges. If there is mass non-payment the whole water charges project will have to be scrapped. Households cannot afford anymore attacks on living standards. Join the We Won’t Pay Campaign today!

Anti-water charges campaign slams “discredited” bankers advice on water charges

PRESS RELEASE 22nd September 2009

Anti-water charges campaign slams “discredited” bankers advise on water charges

Anti-water charges campaigners today hit back against calls for the introduction of the controversial household water tax.

Pat Lawlor, spokesperson for the We Won’t Pay Campaign criticised a report from the First Trust Bank which has called on the Assembly to impose water charges on households.

“The nerve of these well-heeled bankers and discredited economists is astonishing. To think that they feel they can advise anybody on what is good for the economy is bizarre.”

Mr Lawlor described author of the First Trust Banks Economic Outlook, Mike Smyth, as “a capitalist economist who has been completely discredited after predicting last September that the Northern Ireland economy would grow by 1% in 2009 when in fact it is now likely the economy will actually shrink by at least 3%.”

The We Won’t Pay Campaign said “Those sitting on the boards of banks want working class people to pay the price for the economic crisis which they have caused. In fact, by introducing water charges people will have less money to spend which will further exacerbate the recession.”

The We Won’t Pay Campaign is to re-launch it’s non-payment pledge to prepare for a mass non-payment campaign if the Assembly Executive introduces water charges.


No democratic mandate for water charges

We Won't Pay Campaign, Press Release 1 July 09

The anti-water charges We Won’t Pay Campaign has responded to speculation that water charges may be introduced next year by warning the Northern Ireland Executive that they “will be met with mass civil disobedience if water charges are imposed on people.”

Gary Mulcahy, spokesperson for the anti-water charges campaign added “There is no mandate to introduce water charges. It would be totally undemocratic to impose this tap tax on households. At the last Assembly elections the politicians were left in no doubt that people are strongly opposed to water charges.

“The Executive is paying millions of taxpayers money to private companies which have taken over important parts of the water service. This supply should be cut off and the creeping privatisation of the service should be reversed by terminating the Alpha and Omega PPP contracts. This would save millions and could be invested into the service instead of benefiting big business.

“People are already struggling to pay existing bills without having to worry about a new water bill. It is completely unacceptable for the Executive to impose this additional charge on people, especially since we already pay for water.

“If the Executive announces that water charges are to be introduced, we will determinedly campaign in the communities to build an organised ‘We Won’t Pay’ boycott of these charges.”


Water charges plans sinking into defeat
By Gary Mulcahy, We Won’t Pay Campaign, May 2009

The planned introduction of household water charges next April looks to be in serious doubt. It seems the parties in the Executive have privately admitted to themselves that they haven’t a hope of making people pay, despite their best efforts to disguise the introduction in some form next year.

The mass opposition to the charges and the support for mass non-payment which has been built by the We Won’t Pay Campaign has not dissipated. In fact with record job losses and falling incomes, the potential for mass non-payment is now greater than ever. It is this fact which has led the Executive parties to realise if they go ahead with their plans to introduce water charges next year, they face almost certain defeat.

So the tune has changed in recent weeks. Minister for Finance & Personnel Nigel Dodds claimed in April “it is impossible at a time of great economic hardship and challenges for businesses and communities and hardworking families that you could impose these kinds of burdens on people.”

It was the We Won’t Pay Campaign which beat the arguments of direct rule Ministers that people in Northern Ireland do not pay for water. The parties in Stormont had to accept that households already paid for water through the rates. This fact has also restricted their ability to justify water charges as they would need to be seen to reduce rates, which is now virtually ruled out given the Executive’s fiscal crisis.

Minister for Regional Development Conor Murphy has proposed to the Executive that water charges be deferred, yet again, until 2012 (after the next Assembly elections). The We Won’t Pay Campaign has called for the Executive to formally announce the scrapping of water charges. It has now been proven that water charges are not needed to secure funding for the water service. The reason for water charges was never about funding the service. The real reason was to prepare a revenue flow so the water service could be privatised. If a decision is taken to defer water charges yet again, the We Won’t Pay Campaign can proudly proclaim a great victory.

Water charges need to be scrapped, not just delayed

November 21st, 2008

Anti-water charges campaigners reacted to yesterday’s announcement from the Northern Ireland Executive that water charges are to be deferred for another year by calling for water charges to be scrapped rather than delayed.

Gary Mulcahy, speaking on behalf of the We Won’t Pay Campaign explained “It is disappointing that the NI Executive has only announced the deferral of water charges. This means that water bills will be sent to people’s homes in April 2010. People are already struggling to pay the bills with soaring increases in energy costs. Another bill in the form of water charges is not acceptable, especially since we already pay for water through our rates.

“People have not forgotten what the politicians said when they came looking for votes during last years Assembly elections. They then claimed to oppose water charges, but now it seems they are prepared to introduce them in 2010.

“The We Won’t Pay Campaign has not gone away and we will continue to build opposition to water charges until they are scrapped once and for all. Our call for mass non-payment of water charges still has huge support in communities and if water charges are not scrapped the Executive will face a mass boycott of these deeply unpopular charges.”

300 more water service jobs to go

October 17th, 2008

Water service needs to be taken out of hands of Northern Ireland Water

Bosses from the private sector only interested in making profits, not a quality water service

The We Won’t Pay Campaign has called on the Northern Ireland Executive to intervene and bring the water service fully back into public ownership after a further 300 job losses were announced by the company.

Spokesperson Gary Mulcahy added “Bosses from the private sector were brought in to destroy our water service as part of a long-term plan to eventually privatise the water service. Part of that process was to cut jobs, which will undoubtedly lead to a worse service.

“Now that the Assembly has been forced to abandon water charges due to mass support for our campaign to boycott water charges, they should bring the water service fully back into the public sector. Northern Ireland Water is a private company in law and being run as a private company. But it is being publicly funded. The trade unions representing water service workers also need to prepare to whatever industrial action is necessary in order to stop the job losses.”