Shielded by the collective responsibility of the Executive, on some if not all of the recommendations, the Northern Ireland Regional Development minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy, has announced the Executive’s response to some of the recommendations of the review into water and sewerage services.From the Regional Development minister’s statement
“The Executive has accepted the recommendation that, from 2008/09, there should be full recognition that domestic regional rates revenue makes a contribution to the funding of water and sewerage services. In 2008/09, this will be households’ only contribution to the services; the balance will be paid from the NI Block. This represents the Executive’s commitment to tackling the inequity of double charging.”
Noting the panel’s conclusion that the revenue from the regional rate did not cover the full costs of the Water Service, Mr Murphy said: “The Executive accepted the case made by the report that without an uplift in what people currently contribute, other public services would be deprived of funding.”
He said, the Executive has recognised this and agreed that from 2009/10 there will need to be additional contributions from householders.
“We have concluded that these additional contributions should be phased in with domestic households paying two thirds of their full liability in 2009/10 and full liability the year after. The amount due to be collected from domestic households will be reduced by the amount of the contribution that households are already making via the rates (£109m or an average of £160 per rates bill). This means there will be no double payment.”
Turning to the issue of non-domestic customers, where the panel recommends the introduction of increased payment from 2008/09, the Minister said: “The Executive recognises the challenges and difficulties faced by the non-domestic sector and has decided to phase in the new charges more slowly at 50% of the full charge in 2008/09 and 100% in 2009/10.
And, courtesy of the BBC’s Mark Devenport.. here are those manifesto commitments again.