24/09/2009

No Plans For 2011 Water Charges

No decision has been made on the future introduction of water charges for Northern Ireland, the minister responsible has confirmed.

Earlier media reports had suggested the new charge could be imposed upon householders by 2011.

Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy dismissed the claims, insisting no work is underway to establish the utility charge.
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"I want to be clear - No decision has been taken by either myself, Sinn Féin or indeed the Executive to introduce household water charges and no work has commenced on a draft bill in relation to this matter as suggested by some media," he said.

"This is a collective Executive issue and thus far we have not agreed the future funding arrangements for water and sewerage services. However this will require examination service provision and continued investment in the longer term."

The minister had brought a proposition paper to the Executive before the summer, which proposed deferring any Executive decisions being taken until beyond 2012.

Mr Murphy said the position would be reassessed in relation to economic conditions at that time.

(PR/GK)

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