O'Dowd Rules Out Introduction Of Water Charges In NI

Minister for Infrastructure John O'Dowd has ruled out the introduction of household water charges in Northern Ireland.

Speaking ahead an Assembly debate on the issue of the future funding of NI Water, the Minister said: "This is a complex matter which requires a collaborative approach across the Executive and Assembly along with the appropriate level of funding needed to deliver essential services.

"I am pleased that the Assembly is having the debate on the challenges facing NI Water as it's a significant issue which affects the delivery of essential public services. We all want to see a sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure which benefits everyone across our society.
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"The challenges that we are witnessing with water infrastructure is a consequence of underfunding for basic public services over many years, by successive Tory Governments.

"The solution therefore does not lie in charging hard-pressed workers and families for an essential public service."

Turning to the solution, the Minister said: "I want to thank NI Water for the high-quality service it provides.

"I am in no doubt that we can collectively find the solution by truly and demonstrably valuing essential public services such as water and funding them appropriately.

"There is no doubt that NI Water faces many challenges with more investment needed to both maintain what we already have and also to provide new infrastructure to keep pace with our economic, societal and climate responsibilities."

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