POOLE council leader Elaine Atkinson is “exasperated” at a notable fellow Conservative – the communities secretary Eric Pickles.

Mr Pickles decided local authorities should not be able to put up council tax by more than two per cent unless they called a referendum.

Poole is considering a rise of 1.95 per cent, making it one of the councils which Mr Pickles is lambasting for “dodging democracy”.

But surely the most mathematically challenged can see that 1.95 is less than two, so it’s hard to see how Mr Pickles has grounds for complaint.

Many people love to bash local government, sometimes with reason. And Mr Pickles enjoys putting the boot in more than most. But councils have lost a lot of grant money in recent years, and feel they are taking more than their fair share of government cuts. After several years of austerity, some of them could teach Mr Pickles lessons in efficiency.