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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Marginal increase in Council Tax to secure first class service

16/02/2016

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority has today agreed to increase its Council Tax precept by 1.99 per cent from April 2016.

"We are facing challenging financial times and as the Government continues its austerity measures, which have been implemented on a faster scale than envisaged, we are balancing the books in a careful and considered manner. We are also looking into all possible options for making further efficiency savings and are working closely with our partners to explore more collaboration opportunities. We are confident that the weekly increase of just 2.6 pence for the average Band D property will ensure that the safety of our residents and firefighters is not compromised."

This will see residents living in Band D properties pay 2.6 pence more per week – an annual contribution to the fire and rescue service of £70.33.

The modest increase will enable the Service to continue to build upon its success to date, with the number of incidents across the county plummeting by 33 per cent in six years. These results have been achieved through investment in prevention, partnership working and collaboration.

Local communities have reaped the rewards with accidental dwelling fire deaths and injuries dropping dramatically by 50 per cent from 38 in 2010/11 to 19 in 2014/15.

Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority Councillor Len Bloomer said: "We have worked very hard to bring the number of incidents occurring in Staffordshire to the lowest recorded levels in recent years and we are rightly proud of our achievements. This has been made possible due to the emphasis we place on prevention and protection being far better, and far cheaper, than cure.

"However, with a Government funding cut of £1.43 million in the next financial year, we need to make up some of the shortfall in order to continue to provide the first-class service that our communities have come to expect and that they deserve. Even with this marginal increase of 2.6 pence per week for a Band D property, we continue to be a low cost authority in terms of per head of the population while maintaining our position as one of the best performing fire and rescue services in the country."

The Council Tax will raise an additional £452,000, partly mitigating the £1.43 million reduction in Revenue Support Grant announced by the Government in December.

Councillor Bloomer added: "We are facing challenging financial times and as the Government continues its austerity measures, which have been implemented on a faster scale than envisaged, we are balancing the books in a careful and considered manner. We are also looking into all possible options for making further efficiency savings and are working closely with our partners to explore more collaboration opportunities.

"We are confident that the weekly increase of just 2.6 pence for the average Band D property will ensure that the safety of our residents and firefighters is not compromised."