Rally Against Water Charges

in N. Ireland
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SimpsonSimpson Forumite
148 Posts
100 Posts
Saturday 12th Feb. This is an important issue that effects us all.

Noon at the Art College York Street, Then to City Hall.

Organised by Coalition Against Water Charges.
Plenty of mistakes, but no regrets. :)
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  • IvanOpinionIvanOpinion Forumite
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    I have to admit to NOT being against water charges. I believe that the infrastructure has to be paid somehow and, comparing our rates with how much other countries pay in local taxes/poll tax/roof tax (or whatever you want to call it), I am not convinced that we are paying enough to support the current system (not to worry about the system we want in the future).

    We demand a high level of service for our water delivery and waste removal and to get that service costs significant amounts of money. We also have to meet various pieces of legislation both within the UK and Europe which again costs money. Therefore, because I want clean water to drink and expect waste water to be hygenically removed and disposed off I expect to pay for it.

    What annoys me is that some imbecile has probably come up with the most stupid way of determining how much we pay for it. I have heard some minister ranting on the radio about fixed charges etc. etc. Either he is mentally deficient or has no vision. There is a cost involved in delivering each gallon of water and a cost in disposing of each gallon of waste. The only fair way of paying for this is through metering (not the stupidity of property valuation).

    We also have every political party trying to outdo each other in representing the so called 'poor' in socety. What about the middle earners that will effectively be expected to foot the majority of the bill for this (because there are going to be discounts at the bottom and a cap at the top). If you use it then pay for it.

    Finally it is well known that the civil service in NI is far too large and cumbersome (70% GDP - I think) and contains a significant amount of 'dead wood'. A large amount of the money required for this should be found internally by cutting costs within the civil service (preferably through natural wasteage, I don't like to see anybody lose their job).

    I have said it before ... we are all demanding better and better service but nobody is willing to pay for it. If you pay a second rate price you will get a second rate service. As I posted a while back our rates bill is probably going to double (in real terms) over the next 5 or so years and then water is going to be added on top of that. This is the price we have to pay because we are demanding tier-after-tier-after-tier of irrelevant and ineffective government (much of which is to placate some ideals from 'one side or the other').

    I don't mind paying ... as long as the charge is fair and is not frittered away on useless administration.

    Ivan
    Don't waste time on other peoples first world problems
  • wirmwirm Forumite
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    - not going to post as long a message as ivan -

    but I feel that the only fair way of water charges is payasyougo!

    -there, thats all I'm saying! lol-
  • SimpsonSimpson Forumite
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    Both of you are right, but no one is listening.

    I have had serveral correspondances with Norma McCrory [mailto:[email protected]] regarding the proposed charges, requesting an insight into their policies regarding the reduction of water wastage.

    Fixed charges offer no incentive for good management. Peoples attitude will be If I'm paying for it then I want to get value for money. This will encourage greater wastage and the costs will go spiralling upwards.

    As yet they have only directed me to their website which offers good advice to anyone who wishes to reuce water usage/wastage, but still no reward for doing so. I have even offered suggested alternatives to metering, but they still do not want to listen.

    It seems to me that these people feel untouchable in their ivory towers, and that they can just sit it out and ignore these little trouble makers with their ideas that would cap the money they intend to make out of an inefficient but critical service (we can't very well switch supplier or switch them off so where is the consumer power?).

    I know Rallys can be a pain in the !!!!!! but we need to make ourselves heard. If you can't make the rally, sign a petition or you could fill Normas inbox with some brilliant ideas of your own. They have to listen if we're all shouting.
    Plenty of mistakes, but no regrets. :)
  • It's important that people are aware of why we have to pay water charges. Too many people think that: 'The water is free so why pay for it'? This is an argument i have heard many times. The water itself may be free but the infrastucture is not. Given that our water system is outdated, crumbling and full of leaks; a complete overhaul is vital to conserve water and deliver an efficient service to the general public. From my own experience a water meter makes consumers realise just how much water they use/waste.

    Anyone i know who has had a meter installed cut back on the wastage upon seeing their first bill. If you use it you pay for it. There are two in my household we use water carefully. There are families with five or more around me all using much more water that we do. Think of a family with several cars: one family i know have three, plus motorbikes, they waste water cleaning these vehicles with a hosepipe running non stop for up to 2-3 hours at a time at least twice a week. Then there are power washers, these must empty the Silent Valley on their own at weekends and in the spring cleaning season. When men start with these machines a temporary madness afflicts them, they cannot switch them off running them for hours at a time. Then those totally unneceassry lawn sprinklers, i ask you, when in NI do we ever have a drought bad enough to kill grass off?

    The list is endless we waste water all day, every day because we DON'T enough pay for it. Yes, we middle and upper earners will have to pay as usual. But I want to see everyone pay a share, because we all use water and need it to survive. Too many people contribute nothing to our society and expect everything in return, i want a fair return for all.
    Ellie
  • D.A.D.A. Forumite
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    Surely all civil servants ARE safe in their ivory towers though? Bunch of wasters.

    And to hear yer man from NIPSA on the radio complaining about how the Water Service workers would be put onto new contracts and lose their Civil Service pensions and perks - welcome to the world the rest of us poor sods have to inhabit.
  • leftieMleftieM Forumite
    2.2K Posts
    It's included in our current rates bill. Why should we pay twice because the money wasn't being spent the way it should be?
    Also, for those who say we should pay for what we use - this is water we're talking about, something that is necessary for life. If you make it unaffordable for people for whatever reason and they can't access clean drinking water disease will flourish. Come on, surely those who can should subsidise those who can't in some things!
    Personally I think the crazy waste comes in because we use treated water to flush toilets. We should all have a water collecting tank on our roofs for toilet flushing, watering the garden, washing the car or whatever.
    Stercus accidit
  • SnowyOwl_2SnowyOwl_2 Forumite
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    Is it really true that a household consisting of one person will have to pay exactly the same as a household of multiple occupancy if they happen to live in the same type of house and neighbourhood?

    Who will pay for the water that is wasted because of leaks in the actual water system? Why is the system crumbling anyway, when people in NI have been paying for the water service through their rates for years and years?
  • IvanOpinionIvanOpinion Forumite
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    leftieM wrote:
    It's included in our current rates bill. Why should we pay twice because the money wasn't being spent the way it should be?
    Not really. Our rates have been subsidised for many years, however that is about to end and we are going to have to pay significantly more - probably about double what we are currently paying. Look at the council tax in England - it currently runs at about £1000 per person (some more, some less).
    Also, for those who say we should pay for what we use - this is water we're talking about, something that is necessary for life. If you make it unaffordable for people for whatever reason and they can't access clean drinking water disease will flourish. Come on, surely those who can should subsidise those who can't in some things!
    A wonderful left wing argument that basically says 'I don't want to pay for it so somebody else can'. I believe in you pay for what you use (if you don't want to pay for it then don't use it). Further, I say that while people can pay for alchohol, cigarettes, tattoos and various piercings then they can very easily afford to pay for water ... its all case of using intelligence to sort out you prriorities. The only exception that I would make is for old age pensioners who should be subsidised to some degree.

    The middle earners in NI already subsidise this so called economy .. although to be honest NI has no 'economy' worth talking about. It is all frittered away on bloated ineffective government departments, quangos, committees and a grossly overstaffed civil service. 75% of the working population works directly or indirectly for the civil service ... come on lets get real!
    Personally I think the crazy waste comes in because we use treated water to flush toilets. We should all have a water collecting tank on our roofs for toilet flushing, watering the garden, washing the car or whatever.
    A reasonably good point ... I wonder though if it is workable ... I can just see the insurance claims for collapsed roofs ;)

    Ivan
    Don't waste time on other peoples first world problems
  • IvanOpinionIvanOpinion Forumite
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    SnowyOwl wrote:
    Is it really true that a household consisting of one person will have to pay exactly the same as a household of multiple occupancy if they happen to live in the same type of house and neighbourhood?
    You have just caught-on to the stupidity of our government. Not only that if you are a single person living in a big house you will pay an awful lot more than half-a-dozen students living in a small terrace.

    I am basically under the impression that whoever came up with this scheme is probably one of the laziest b*****s on this earth. Whoever is responsible either had absolutely nothing between their ears or was just too lazy to use it. Why do a week of work looking at possibilities for charging when you can come up with the most stupid answer and then sit with your feet on the desk for rest of the week. What was quite comical though was that the minister (god only knows who he is) was trying to defend this inane decision on the radio and, because he was trying to defend the indefenisible, was actually getting very irate. I have never heard so many childish stupid arguments in one radio interview.
    Who will pay for the water that is wasted because of leaks in the actual water system? Why is the system crumbling anyway, when people in NI have been paying for the water service through their rates for years and years?
    Thats what we are all about to pay for. The cost of our water is to be about double the price that it is in rest of the UK - so that we can fritter masses of money away on useless admin and spend the rest fixing pipes. This is one of the reasons our local political parties were trying to secure a 1 billion peace dividend to help sort this out - unfortunately that is not going to be forth coming in the current climate.

    Remember we had been loaned 2 billion a few years ago which we are currently frittering away on a daily basis - paying MLAs that are not doing their job, paying useless government departments because one-side-or-the-other demands that they exist, frittering away millions on enquiry after enquiry after enquiry. It appears that we are all demanding better services but yet we still insist on wasting every penny we get on the past and on 'principles' ... when will we learn ... why do you think rest of the UK, the ROI, America and other countries get so exasperated with us ... the patience of all these countries is going to run dry very soon ... therefore we need to stand up like adults and take responsibility for our own (and our childrens) futures ... stop all this 'You started it', 'no you started it' crap.

    Ivan
    Don't waste time on other peoples first world problems
  • SimpsonSimpson Forumite
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    Nice rant Ivan, but don't try to solve the worlds problems all at once. It takes until 2:00 am on a sunday morning after a family bar-b-que with the assistance of huge amounts of alcohol to do that.

    Let's just stay focused on water charges for the moment. I hope you are all taking some form of action (In that I mean asking questions, making suggestions and signing petitions).

    Reform, Water [[email protected]] this is their official email link for proposals, queries etc.

    I have copied my suggestions to them here to hopefully spark off some ideas.

    The easiest solution seems to be metering. Perhaps a voluntary annual charge for metering for people who intend to take the advice offered in an attempt to reduce wastage. Or a levy to pay off the cost of the meter over ten years (it's not like were going to switch supplier after all), say £20.00 per year giving the estimated £200.00 cost that ministers are talking about.

    Alternatively you could introduce a credit scheme for households who adopt effective water management a regular inspection or audit could be set as a nominal charge for anyone who wishes to subscribe to this option (where the subscription would be refundable for successful applicants) and the score obtained would establish a percentage discount level of the set charge (as set by rateable value).

    These are only my suggestions I'm sure there are cleverer people than me who could improve on these, or think of something even better. Remember these services must be paid for, but the payments must be fair and must take into account that some people will act more responsibly than others.

    As yet the water service have taken the see no evil, hear no evil approach to my suggestions (they aknowledge that they've recieved them but do not wish to be drawn into a discussion regarding them).
    Plenty of mistakes, but no regrets. :)
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