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Water Tax – Don't Pay!

category national | consumer issues | opinion/analysis author Saturday September 18, 2004 12:41author by Malatested - Organise Armagh and Down localauthor email organise_armaghdown at yahoo dot ieauthor phone 07732954843 Report this post to the editors

Direct Rule Minister John Spellar has announced that we can expect to pay an average of £415 for our water by 2008.

That’s for a service that 37% of our rates already pays for! So will our rates go down as a result? Not likely. Water charging, the Reinvestment and Reform Initiative and the Review of rating will see rates double over the next few years. Why? To pay for government bureaucracy, to subsidise the private sector with PPP/PFI deals and to line the pockets of politicians, bureaucrats and quangocrats.
As for the announcement of a 25% discount for people on low incomes, a government document has already been leaked revealing that everyone else's bill would be artificially boosted to cover the cost of these discounts. And remember, a 25% discount of an unfair double tax is no discount at all!
The main political parties have all issued statements attacking the new water bill. Yet these parties were all involved in the Assembly which set the ball rolling towards water charges and privatisation. Let’s face it. There are not many of us left who actually trust politicians, regardless of the doorstep promises they make when they come round to our houses every four or five years. Anarchists too have little faith in the parties of the left, the politicians-in-waiting, who would also insinuate themselves into power given half the chance. It is clear that the agendas politicians (in power or not) pursue have very little in common with giving people a direct say over their own affairs. So it comes as no surprise to us at Working Class Resistance that the subterfuge shared by current Secretary of State, Paul Murphy, and Paul Boateng, Chief Secretary of the Treasury, regarding the imposition of water charges in the north, highlights once again the divide between our interests and the interests of those with power over us.
A leaked ministerial letter from Murphy to Boateng, revealed plans that will artificially inflate present house-hold rates so that people will get used to paying higher bills. The letter, published in the Belfast Telegraph, August 20, 2004, stated:
“That is why we have drawn up proposals to make above trend increases in Regional Rates immediately before the introduction of water charging so that we can moderate the total increases in house-hold bills (rates and water charges combined) during the following few years when we are introducing water charges… ”
So while we wait to pay for water twice over in 2006, we will be conned, in the meantime, into paying increased rates.
Murphy, running scared of water-tax protests across the north, warns Boateng that a more subtle approach to the introduction of privatised services is needed. Murphy believes:
“…that if we adopt this strong approach to seeking private sector involvement from the outset, it will be seized upon by the many opponents of water reform as evidence that the government has a clear privatisation agenda for the water industry in Northern Ireland… The overt pursuit of private sector involvement will therefore strengthen the hand of those who are opposing the overall water reform package…”
So the privatisation that previous issues of Working Class Resistance warned about is on the cards after all. This proves that Spellar announcement in October 2003 that privatisation had been ruled out was a bare faced lie. This is the same John Spellar who more recently announced that the Water Service would be run as a GoCo, a government-owned company.
Make no bones about it: a GoCo, with shares and shareholders, is more than a first step down the road to privatisation!
The British Government has refused to comment on the leaked document but said that the rises will be ‘fair and affordable’. Rubblish!
Go to the doorsteps of old age pensioners across the north and tell them that! According to the charity organisation Help the Aged, OAPs will be among those the worst hit by the new charges. In a statement, the organisation said:
“A quarter of all pensioners in Northern Ireland live in poverty. Any further tax on people who are already having managing is scandalous. It is completely unacceptable that we expect our older people to choose between bread and water.”
So when the government expect us to pay up tell them where to shove their bill. Only the mass non-payment of water charges will beat this double tax. Set up a non-payment group in your area now and tell these leeches where to get off.

To get involved, contact:

Organise! at:
PO Box 505, Belfast BT12 6BQ,
Tel: 07732954843

‘Communities Against The Water Tax’, 54 Manor St, Belfast BT14 6EA,
Tel: 028 9074 9147
email cawt@btconnect.com

‘No To The Water Tax’:
c/o PO Box 523, Craigavon BT62 1YA,
Tel: 07732954843

Related Link: http://www.organiseireland.org
author by Curiouspublication date Mon Sep 20, 2004 18:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ain't that the trots campaign?
Good to see the good cooperation.

author by sean - Organise!publication date Mon Sep 20, 2004 23:58author address www.organiseireland.orgauthor phone Report this post to the editors

CAWT is entirely independent from any one political group and is not a front. Is the only campaign which advocates non-payment and is generally opposed to water reform which includes privitisation, cutbacks and layoffs etc.

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