AS a resident of Poole, I must respond to Christopher Chope's ill-informed letter suggesting that council taxpayers pay the same across the conurbation.

His proposals would see those of us in Poole facing a rise of over six per cent. That is way above his own government's threshold at which there should be a referendum. That is therefore unfair on the residents of Poole.

He, like many others, advances the argument that it is unfair for the residents of Christchurch to pay more for the same services. The fact is that we in Poole pay less council tax because we have not been getting the same level of services as Christchurch. For example, we have suffered the closure of many of our public toilets, unlike Christchurch. The harmonisation process allows not just council tax but services to be brought to the same level throughout the conurbation.

There is also another financial argument that he has overlooked. Each of the three authorities have put assets into the new authority in the form of cash reserves, buildings etc. These will be differing amounts. In the interests of fairness, these should also be taken into account either when setting council tax or in the form of a cash rebate. Why should one set of council tax payers put more of their cash into the pot than others?

The harmonisation process may not be perfect but it is probably the fairest way.


Laidlaw Close, Poole