The other item of business at that fractious Executive meeting was the recommendations on water charges from the report on water and sewerage services, an independent report which was instructed not to consider privatisation.. ANYhoo.. according to the BBC report – “Ministers have agreed a way forward on water charges for Northern Ireland” [collective responsibility in action? – Ed] Although we’ll have to wait until next week to find out what that “way forward” is.. and Mark Devenport, who helpfully reminded everyone of the parties’ manifesto commitments on water charges, suggests that there was some disagreement on which way “forward” was.
“However it’s believed many of the elements of the recent independent review of water have not been agreed as unionist ministers don’t agree with the review’s support for basing water rates on the capital value of homes, or its opposition to water metering.”
The Minister’s statement, as reported here
Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy is set to outline to assembly members next week a new way forward on the issue of funding water and sewerage services.
He said: “In relation to the Hillyard Report people will be aware that the Executive committed itself to the undoing of any plans for the privatisation of the water and sewerage services.
“We also wanted to tackle what most people considered to be the injustice of having to pay twice, a double taxation for water and sewerage services.
“In that context, the executive considered strand one of this report. We have agreed a way forward which I think presents a much fairer deal for those involved and I will making a statement to the assembly.”
And those manifesto commitments again..