I HAVE read with interest the start of the debate about police budgets (Echo, Nov 8).

Once again you’ve got a call that the police precept should increase year on year by two per cent because the government expects local tax payers to replace a reduction in national police grants.

This is not to detract from the debate about frontline police officers on the streets of North-East England.

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The reality is people are struggling financially with each year seeing a two per cent increase in the police precept, a four per cent increase in local council tax and an increase in the fire service portion of the tax.

It’s disingenuous to talk about the police increase in isolation from other local tax increases.

The police and crime commissioners on salaries double the average national wage – have they become out of touch with the communities they serve?

The next generation will be poorer for the first time in decades.

Public sector workers and sections of the private sector have had to bear the brunt of austerity without any increase in pay year on year.

We have also witnessed the attacks on public sector pensions.

The decision-makers in local government need to take a realistic view.

They must try and understand the pressures that households are under before pushing them below the poverty line with these constant year on year increases.

They also need to understand the communities they are representing and the pressures households in those communities are under when they are considering making any increases to local tax levels.

R Pitt, Middlesbrough