October 2004 edition, Socialist Voice

Water Charges - 85% say we won't pay

EIGHTY-FIVE percent of people say they won't pay water charges when they are introduced in April 2006. This was the result of a text poll carried out live on The Steven Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster. The poll asked listeners to text the show, after hearing the arguments made by a spokesperson for the We Won't Pay Campaign, to see whether people will refuse to pay the water charges or pay up.

Visit the site of the We Won't Pay Campaign
Hundreds of listeners responded to the poll. Callers to the show explained that they had a right not to pay twice for water. Jim Barbour, a spokesperson for the We Won't Pay Campaign, also appeared on the Steven Nolan television show on BBC. Jim called on Minister Spellar to debate the issue with him on the show and also to join him on the cobblestones of Belfast to hear the views of householders. A live interview with residents of Glengormley also showed how determined people are to defeat water charges. Young couples told the show "if everyone sticks together and refuses to pay then it can be beaten".

The We Won't Pay Campaign has successfully countered the lies of the government in the media and on the doorsteps. The government's argument that the people of Northern Ireland have to pay more is an insult. Household incomes in Northern Ireland are 19% below the UK average. 21% of household income is dependent on benefits compared with 12% reliance in Britain. Yet we pay more for essential services. Households here pay on average 26% more for fuel, light and power than households in Britain.

Water charges will have a devastating impact on thousands of families across the North. According to statistics, half a million people in Northern Ireland are living in poor households, including almost 150,000 children. Unless the water charges are defeated, hundreds of thousands more people will join them.

The We Won't Pay Campaign is currently building groups in communities across the North to organise mass non-payment. Local We Won't Pay groups need to be set up in every estate and street to build solidarity and organise communities not to pay.

If you want to set up a local We Won't Pay group in your area, then contact the campaign now on 07743282321.

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