Page last updated at 16:05 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 17:05 UK

Three year water deferral planned

A water tap
The executive is to be asked to defer water charges again

Water charges in Northern Ireland should be deferred for another three years, Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy has proposed.

The minister has circulated a paper to his executive colleagues proposing they continue to fund investment in the water service from the general budget.

He wants the funding to continue until 2012 and then be reassessed.

"I am proposing that the executive would continue to pay for water and sewerage services," he said.

"That we continue to make the necessary investment to address the legacy of underinvestment in this service for many decades and do so up until the period of 2012 and at that time the executive can reassess the situation in terms of the economic downturn."

If the proposal is adopted, it would take the deferral past the next assembly elections which are due in 2011.

The paper goes to the executive next Thursday.

Last November, the NI Executive used £400m of a funding boost from Prime Minister Gordon Brown to defer domestic water charges for another year.

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