Mr Robin Swann MLA, Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman and his party’s candidate for Westminster for North Antrim has said “water charges are out, out, out” so far as he and his party are concerned.
Assemblyman Swann, who is UUP Chief Whip and Chairman of the Stormont Employment and Learning Committee, issued his statement as he reaffirmed the UUP stance on the introduction of domestic water charges during a Stormont debate.
The motion firmly supported by Mr Swann called on the Assembly to reaffirm “its rejection of the imposition of water rates on the people of Northern Ireland”.
Mr Swann said: “We have no problem with doing that; we have made commitments to that effect many times. The Regional Development Minister and my party colleague Danny Kennedy has made a continuing commitment to ensure that the people of Northern Ireland are not hit with an extra bill for implementing domestic water charges through the ongoing subsidy that his Department pays to Northern Ireland Water in lieu of charges.
“We sought to amend the DUP motion on water charges because other parties at the Executive table seem content to claim the victory for deferring water charges but want none of the responsibility for ensuring that the responsible Department is adequately resourced to maintain the water infrastructure.
“We welcome the cross-party support that we have received.
“The Minister, in his response, highlighted how his Department will face £60 million of pressures next year. Recently, he has warned of the consequences that that would have for core services, but he faces continued criticism from all parties for doing so.”