AS we find out how much council tax we will have next year we see yet another example of smoke and mirrors used by central government to hide what are effectively tax increases by the back door.

This year the money local authorities receive from central government to provide services is cut by a further £1.3billion (or 36 per cent).

Yet James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, glibly says that councils will have an extra £1.3bn in the next financial year.

However that includes money raised if councils increase their tax by the maximum three per cent allowed and collect strong amounts from rents and business rates.

In other words central government saves £1.3bn and the council tax payer faces yet another increase. We see the same with funding for the police.

There are of course other indirect ways in which the government increases the financial burden on the taxpayer. Take probate fees. At the moment everyone pays a flat £215 on estates over £5,000. That will rise to a minimum of £250 for estates over £50,000 up to £300,000, going up to £6,000 for estates over £2million.

For many years the government gave over-75s a free TV licence. Then it divested that to the BBC who now want to remove it. I could go on.

Is it any wonder that so many people have a lack of trust in our national politicians of all parties, because of the spin and obfuscation we get from them?

Not only do they fail to admit responsibility for their actions, they let others become the fall guy.


Laidlaw Close, Poole