I got my little leaflet this evening, explaining water charges. How touching. Anyway, one of the more interesting snippets in the book is the website www.mycapitalvalueni.gov.uk. You can find out the worth of every single property in Northern Ireland by typing in the postcode and house number. What a useful little item that might prove to be in years to come. I don’t know whether these are scare tactics or the real deal, but I got a hell of a fright when I saw how much I will be paying when all the phasing is over. I have no issue in theory with paying for my water, and understand the social justice argument of providing water for all in society who require it. But I am beginning to think someone is sticking their arm in here! If your house is worth less than £100,000 you pay £135. Great. Find me one house in Northern Ireland selling for less than £100,000. I’ve been looking at houses recently and you might as well say everything is beginning to start on the market at around £200,000. Well thats your water bill up to £460 a year. And if you are unfortunate enough to have a house that has increased in value, you can pay up to £800 a year for your water. And you can live on your own, bathe in the river and drink Perrier, but you still have to pay for it.
I understand the infrastructure argument and the standing charges, but I am beginning to feel a more equitable way of charging would have been to have a standing charge to cover the essential works and meter the rest for usage. I know that there is a campaign going on at the moment, but I don’t know if they are getting their messages across adequately, not to mention advocating non payment of a utility bill which could lead to serious difficulties.
Maybe we need, oh I don’t know, maybe a group of people elected on our behalf that could debate the issues and ensure that the fairest and most equitable method of charging and paying for this basic element of life is brought to bear for the sake of the people who live here. Ach, thats being silly, we’ll never see a grown up group governing here.