20 January 2007

On its website Cornwall county council is running a poll which asks people what increase they wish to see in the county council tax this year. There are four choices and the likely consequences on county council services are explained for each. The results on 20 January 2007 showed that 80 percent of those voting supported a 3.5 percent increase, the lowest available and one which the website explains will involve cuts to all services and several hundred redundancies among council workers.

I don’t know how far the voters in this poll are representative but the results are decisive. I don’t know whether the council will take any notice of the poll – probably not, given the results. What are such website polls for? If the council wishes to know what people in Cornwall think the council tax should be – and I wonder if it really does – it should organise a professional poll of a representative sample of people.

The website does not give the number of votes cast, only the percentages.

PS Well, in February the county council voted for a 4.99 percent rise so that answers the question of whether it would be guided by its own poll. And only 167 voted in the poll: five people in the poll voted for a 5 percent rise. What was this poll for?