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Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2006, 17:42 GMT
Water charges get Lords approval
Water jug
The House of Lords voted in favour of water charges for NI
Controversial plans to introduce water charges in Northern Ireland have been approved by the House of Lords.

Former Ulster Unionist leader Lord Trimble wanted the decision to be deferred and taken by the NI assembly when it is reconstituted.

However, NI minister Lord Rooker said the new charges were needed "to bring water and sewerage standards up to the level of the rest of the UK".

He said 629m had been spent in the past three years on improvements.

Lord Rooker added that while Northern Ireland received the highest share of spending in the UK, it paid the lowest share of local taxes.

In a vote, the order was approved by 158 to 83 - a government majority of 75.

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