North­ern Ire­land Wa­ter

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News -

North­ern Ire­land Wa­ter [NIW] is the Govern­ment-owned trad­ing com­pany which pro­vides wa­ter and sewerage ser­vices. Whilst it presents ac­counts as if trad­ing as a nor­mal com­mer­cial busi­ness, the com­pany earns its rev­enue partly through sup­ply charges levied on non-do­mes­tic busi­ness cus­tomers, but this is along­side an op­er­at­ing sub­sidy in lieu of do­mes­tic charges re­ceived from the Depart­ment for In­fra­struc­ture [DFI].

The DFI op­er­at­ing sub­sidy in 2017-18 was £290.4m, equiv­a­lent to an av­er­age of about £400 per house­hold, and other non-trad­ing in­come of nearly £70m was at­trib­uted to NIW. Busi­ness cus­tomers paid just over £76m in di­rect charges. House­holds in Eng­land pay wa­ter charges to the wa­ter au­thor­i­ties which avoid a sub­sidy through tax­a­tion or rates re­duc­tions.

The North­ern Ire­land rev­enue drawn as a Govern­ment op­er­at­ing sub­sidy is pos­si­bly the largest dis­cre­tionary use of Govern­ment rev­enue by Stor­mont in favour of re­duc­ing costs to house­holds, out-with the nor­mal par­ity prin­ci­ples.

The sta­tis­tics used in this ta­ble are drawn from the just pub­lished Statu­tory Ac­counts which dif­fer sig­nif­i­cantly from the pre­sen­ta­tion that would be con­ven­tional in pri­vate sec­tor com­mer­cial ac­counts.

The fi­nances of NIW are heav­ily in­flu- enced by the con­ven­tions used to de­cide the level of op­er­at­ing sub­sidy, the al­lo­ca­tion of rev­enue from cus­tomers pro­vid­ing as­sets for the con­nec­tion of ser­vices and the es­ti­mate of the costs of pro­vid­ing for drainage of wa­ter from the roads net­work. Th­ese es­ti­mates mean that the re­sult­ing op­er­at­ing profit fig­ures are partly an out­come of al­lo­ca­tions of DFI fund­ing.

The in­ter­est charges paid by NIW are a re­flec­tion of the large and grow­ing level of bor­row­ing to fi­nance the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

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