COUNCIL tax bills in Bournemouth and Poole are set to rise more than twice as fast as the public were told when they had their say on creating a new “super-council” with Christchurch.

One opposition councillor has said bills could “easily” rise by 10 per cent when the proposed new council comes into being in 2019.

Bournemouth and Poole’s council tax is substantially lower than Christchurch – with a band D household paying £200 a year more in Christchurch than its counterpart in Poole.

Earlier this week, local government secretary Sajid Javid said he was “minded” to back the Future Dorset proposals to sweep away the existing nine Dorset councils. They would be replaced by one authority to cover Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch, and another for the rest of the county.

When the public was consulted last year, the Future Dorset plans suggested a 20-year period to “harmonise” council tax across the area.

But councillors now have been told that the government favours a maximum of 10 years, with an even shorter period considered “more equitable”.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Phil Eades, of Branksome West, said the public had been “misled”.

“They are talking about a six per cent council tax rise for Poole in order for it to catch up with Christchurch much quicker,” he said.

“The rise could easily be 10 per cent in 2019. The new council is unsustainable if people are paying different rates.”

Councils expect to be told that they must hold a referendum if they plan to put up council tax by more than two per cent in 2019-20. However, the changing situation in Dorset means the new council could raise the tax by more than that without a referendum, a report to the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch joint committee said.

The joint committee voted to set up a ‘task and finish’ group which will search for a “politically acceptable” solution and consider how much tax should be collected.

Poole council leader Cllr Janet Walton, who chairs the committee, said in a statement: “The Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Joint Committee will consider the process, levels and timetable for council tax harmonisation for the new unitary authority.We have already set up a task and finish group to do the detailed work, with the support of specialist officers from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole councils and advice from the Department for Communities and Local Government, looking at the strategy for harmonising council tax.

“This will include considering the period of time over which harmonisation would take place as well as the implications different options could have for all residents of the new council area. Considerations will include striking a balance between fair levels of council tax for all those within a given property band, acceptable levels of council tax rise and minimising the amount of council tax foregone during the harmonisation process.

“The task and finish group will report back to the Joint Committee in due course, where the matter will be discussed in public.”