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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Council Tax to Remain the Same

17/02/2011

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority have today agreed not to increase council tax in April.

"We are already one of the lowest costing authorities per head of population in the country, yet we remain one of the highest performing and so providing excellent value for money is always at the forefront of our minds."

Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority, Cllr Len Bloomer

Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority, Cllr Len Bloomer said: "During these difficult financial times it wouldn’t be appropriate to increase council tax. We do have savings to make but the Chief Fire Officer has made two commitments; that firefighter safety and community safety will not be compromised, both of which I fully endorse.

"We are already one of the lowest costing authorities per head of population in the country, yet we remain one of the highest performing and so providing excellent value for money is always at the forefront of our minds."

The other element of funding that the Service receives is from a Government grant, the details of which were announced in December. There will be a slight increase in the grant across the next two years however the Service is already making plans for years three and four when significant reductions in funding are expected.

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Peter Dartford added: "We don’t yet know what our funding will be from April 2013 but we are expecting it to reduce from the current level. Our plan is therefore to spread our budget reductions over four years. This will enable us to make changes in a controlled fashion and, as far as possible, minimise impact on the way we deliver our services to the community. Based on our current projections this will mean making a saving of around £1million per year.

!Our Business Transformation Team is looking at each and every area of our organisation to identify areas where we can make ourselves more efficient and cost effective. We believe that this is the most sensible approach to reducing our overall costs and meeting the challenges that we know lay ahead."