Assembly could block water charges.. but bill will remain to be paid.

As Mick noted previously Water Tax is one of the main issues of this election and with all parties in opposition, to one degree or another, the reported intervention today by the Department of Regional Development is worth noting. [aren’t they supposed to be in purdah? – Ed]

A spokeswoman for the Department said: “Should a restored Assembly wish to either amend or repeal the provisions of the Order (water charges law) they could do so, as they could any legislation on matters falling within the transferred field, by introducing and approving an Assembly bill which would then require Royal Assent.”

While that is true for any matter within a transferred field, if the government has already signed contracts relating to the billing of water charges that situation will be more complicated than at first glance.

Additionally, as the PA report goes on to note, there will still be a bill to be paid

Hundreds of thousands of householders are bracing themselves for fresh payment demands to cover the cost of upgrading the dilapidated water and sewerage infrastructure.

Simply blocking a separate water charge will not cover the cost of upgrading the sewage and water infrastructure. And unless that work is completed, as soon as possible, there will be additional charges added on to the cost

Whether we’ll hear anything other than soundbites, or more demands, from the parties on this before the election is currently unknown..