Public will be consulted on new water tariffs for firms

The public is to be consulted on new water tariffs for businesses, industrial firms and farms.

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The commission for Regulation of Utilities to set up a public consultation process on Irish Water’s proposed new tariff framework for non-domestic customers.

This is the first time since Irish Water was set up that new tariffs will be determined. The overall aim is to streamline the current system which involves 500 separate tariffs across 44 billing authorities.

Tariffs were inherited by Irish Water from the local authorities and neither the system nor the tariff levels have changed in the past five years.

Proposals include a three- year transition arrangement and the option of availing of a 10% cap on annual charge increases during the transition period to assist customers to mitigate bill increases over time.

Cabinet heard that the two-month public consultation process will begin on June 20. The commission will make its final determination towards the end of the year, giving customers advance notice of the new tariff arrangements before they are applied in practice in the final quarter of 2019.

Meanwhile, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty brought a report to cabinet which found that there is a need to co-ordinate services to help people transition from welfare to work.

This report looked at the role of public services in meeting the needs of households where adults are either not in work, or work less than 20% of their time.

It found a high proportion of children live in households where no-one is working. It recommended an expansion of career guidance services, and the development of training with apprenticeships and employment-support programmes.

Separately, Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone brought a new LGBTI+ strategy to Cabinet which will be the first of its kind in the world. The strategy, which will be published soon, is the result of consultation with 4,000 young people which found that bullying, isolation, and a lack of services and support are still an issue, particularly outside of Dublin. A budget of €300,000 has been allocated.

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