I READ about the plans for a petition over future council tax increases across Bournemouth and Poole (Daily Echo, December 4) with great surprise and some disappointment.

Let’s be clear, in Bournemouth we froze council tax bills for residents for five years in a row and since then have increased them in line with government policy and within the ceiling permitted.

We have only done that reluctantly in order to ensure sufficient cash for adult social care to protect the most vulnerable adults locally.

There are no plans to change this policy in Bournemouth, nor as far as your report clearly stated, across the new local authority which would include Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch. Indeed the joint committee which is responsible for preparations for the new council have been very clear that increases must be kept within the government cap and that in the case of Christchurch, their council tax should be frozen (or perhaps even reduced) to take account of the higher levels that residents currently pay.

To suggest that council tax is likely to rise further than the government’s current limits is political scaremongering of the worst kind and is totally without foundation. Let our record speak for itself, we will always keep council tax increases to the minimum necessary to provide the services of the quality residents rightly expect. This will be within the government cap (currently 1.99 per cent) unless the government make provision for a specific precept to be charged as has occurred for adult social care over the past two years.

Even though freezing council tax may no longer be an option due to the demand pressures for adults’ and children’s social care, we believe that council tax should always be kept as low as possible. A s local residents will know, we have achieved that for some years now in both Bournemouth and Poole. It seems inconceivable that we would change course now.

CLLR JOHN BEESLEY leader, Bournemouth Borough Council