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(en) WCR #4 WATER TAX - Organise! (Ireland)

From Al S <klasbatalemo@yahoo.ie>
Date Wed, 25 Feb 2004 21:45:31 +0100 (CET)

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The British government are pushing ahead with plans for water
reform which will see massive job losses, the running down of
services and the introduction of charges for water use.
Water charges for Northern Ireland are set to be
amongst the highest in the UK as the Department for
Regional Development lay the ground work for a charging
regime aimed at making the water service here ‘self financing’.
The charging regime is likely to be based on property
value and there will be no exemptions. A 25% discount
has been suggested for people claiming certain
benefits, while the charge will be increased across
the board to subsidise this ‘assistance’. In fact
assisting the poorest and most vulnerable in our
society is not at all what this is about, rather, it
is a cynical manipulation in an attempt to secure
greater public and political acceptance.

Charges are set to be the highest in the UK – bearing
in mind that sewerage and water charges in Scotland
are around £1,300 per year!
Meanwhile the new Water Services boss is on a salary
of £150,000 plus bonuses to ensure they push this

The foundation for the charging regime is to be laid
in April with the entire infrastructure in place for
April 2006. In the meantime the Water Service aim to
cut 350 jobs initially and centralise work. The total
number of jobs lost could be up to 900. Job losses
and centralisation of services will further erode
services in outlying and rural districts.

While Minister John Spellar has stated that
privatisation is not an option ALL the options being
looked at are privatisation by different means.
The Coalition Against Water Charges is organising a
series of rallies in towns and cities across the north
culminating in a rally against water charges in
Belfast in May. Organise! will be supporting these
events and working to build a mass campaign based on

While the implementation process may have been delayed
slightly while the DRD work on their charging regime
we can’t fool ourselves into thinking that we can
relax our opposition. We must seize the moment and
actively build a campaign across working class
communities to defeat the water tax.
Thatcher’s Poll Tax and more recently attempts to
impose water charges in the south were both defeated
by mass direct action and non-payment, only such a
campaign will defeat the water tax here. Working
class people can’t afford to pay for their water twice
(ignore the lies that we don‘t pay for our water, we
do, in our rates). We can’t afford to subsidise

We can’t pay and we won’t pay! This must be the clear
message of the campaign against water charges.


>From the pages of Working Class Resistance!#4,
bulletin of Organise!. To distribute WCR!, contact
Organise! at:



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