According to New Labour Minister, Angela Smith, we will be paying water charges by 2006. The 'consultation' document states the average water charge will be "in the region of £350 - £400 per year. This figure would rise steadily as investment levels increase, as they must."
Metered water charges in England and Wales have led to poor families rationing water. These charges will hit everyone; even pensioners, the unemployed and low-paid are expected to pay. 600 water service job losses (one-third of the workforce) have already been announced. So much for the 'consultation'! The introduction of water charges is the first step towards the privatisation of our water service. Senior civil servants from the NI Dept. of Finance & Personnel have already admitted this on several occasions. The five different options in the document on how we would like our water to be managed are all varying forms of privatisation.