Sinn Fein & DUP plan to introduce water tax


The Assembly plans to charge us for water from next April. Even though the DUP and Sinn Fein said they opposed the water tax when they wanted votes, they don’t regard that as important. They got the votes and now they can ignore the promises.

“Oppose the imposition of water charges and the privatisation of the water service, and any other forms of regressive double-taxation”
(Sinn Féin, 2007 manifesto)

“Other parties are against water charges now but the DUP has been consistently opposed to the scheme”(DUP, 2007 policy document)

We already pay for water, it’s part of the rates. We are being told to pay twice. Our rates bill won’t be reduced by the amount of the new tax, all we have been offered is that rates will stay at their current amount for three years. Oh, and District Councils can increase the rates anyway. The plan is to get us to pay more, making the water supply a very profitable affair. Then it will be sold off to private firms like Thames Water. There is little idea of public service, just screw ordinary families so that the owners of the water companies can make even bigger profits.

And it helps spread the ‘neo-liberal’ message that you have very few entitlements, that practically everything should be for making profit, that there is something wrong with the very idea of satisfying human needs unless you can make money from it.In the 1990s they tried to charge for water in the South. A large campaign of non-payment eventually defeated the government there.

It’s to that example we should look, and not to the weasel words of politicians. To win - and not just ‘protest’ – a campaign needs to be built on every street, in every estate, in every area; a campaign which bases itself on the key tactic of refusal to pay. With a year to go we have to convince a lot of people that is the best thing to do. It won’t be easy, but if they can do it in the South we are sure we can do it here. If the majority refuse to pay, the charge cannot be implemented. So don’t trust politicians or other “leave it to me” con artists, trust yourself and your workmates and neighbours.

More articles on the struggle agains the Water Tax (and the 1990's victory)

Related reading: Looking back on the battle of the Bins & the Lessons Learnt - Interview

This article is from Workers Solidarity 103, May - June 2008

PDF of the Southern edition of WS103
PDF of northern edition of WS103