REGARDING your editorial (LET, January 26), it is true that Tony Blair's election promise was "no plan to increase taxes" but that cannot be the root cause of the savage cuts to public services, because, in addition to inheriting a strong economy, Labour has made 17 significant tax increases.

According to Treasury Figures from the last budget, the tax burden as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product is set to increase from 36 per cent in the last year of the previous government to 38.4 per cent in 2001-2.

Regarding cuts for the police, Labour's failure to cut welfare spending has had an impact on police funding - hardly attributable to the Tories!

The police service will receive just 0.1 per cent extra, in real terms, next year - and an average of just 0.6 per cent over the next three years - which compares with an average of 3.4 per cent a year between 1979 and 1997.

Consequently, several forces are facing cut-backs in officers and others are considering freezing recruitment.

Having been in office for almost two years, Labour can't still blame under-funding of local government, police and fire services on the previous government, because they are pursuing Labour's priorities; not the Conservatives' priorities and, not the 'people's.'

The Government has presided over record Council Tax increases this year and loaded new costs on to councils; forcing Council Tax payers to foot the bill.

No doubt 'Middle England' and possibly, Old Labour, will conclude that New Labour's 'modern chickens' are coming home to roost!

COUNCILLOR JAMES HIRST, Blackburn Conservative Association, Duckworth Street Blackburn.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.