CONOR Burns, in accusing the council of being “complicit” in the loss of jobs if Beales closes unless they allow a discount on business rates, is throwing up a huge smokescreen by seeking to hide where the real blame lies.

The burden of business rates may well be a factor but they are set not by the council but by central government. Furthermore if the council agree to any discount, 50 per cent of that discount falls upon the council, police and fire. That in effect means that you and I as council taxpayers will have to pay to bail out Beales. We are already facing an ever increasing burden, thanks to the policies of Mr Burns’ government, which of course they keep very quiet about.

They have reduced the amount of money they give to councils, resulting in significant increases in council tax. There are however other hidden ways in which they transfer some or all of the financial burden by introducing national policies and then making councils responsible.

Two examples spring to mind. Councils have been made responsible for concessionary bus passes. Although they get some money from the government, it is not sufficient to cover the cost. To add insult to injury, we have to pay when visitors to this area use their bus passes.

Similarly, student accommodation is not liable for council tax despite the fact that students use local council services. Again there is a shortfall in the amount the government gives back to councils so we as council taxpayers (and of course as taxpayers) subsidise the profits of those private companies and their shareholders.

Richard Drax does the same in expressing his disappointment about the health secretary’s decision to allow the hospital proposals to go ahead. The reason the Clinical Commissioning Group find themselves in this position is because the government has failed to put enough money into the NHS to cope with an ever increasing demand and to address the problem of staff shortages.

So Mr Burns and Mr Drax, stop being disingenuous and admit that these problems are due to the policies of your government, stop heaping the blame upon others and placing an ever increasing burden upon council taxpayers and expecting them to subsidise the private sector.


Laidlaw Close, Poole