Fire engine

Staffordshire residents will pay around £2.50 more a year for fire and rescue services from April.

The 2.99% rise in the precept – the share of council tax bills – for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service follows a 4.99% hike in the police precept which was approved last week.

Staffordshire Commissioner Ben Adams presented the fire and rescue service budget and precept proposals at a meeting yesterday (12th February).

The plans, which were backed by the panel, mean that households living in Band D properties will pay £86.77 to the fire service for the year – a £2.52 increase on last year’s bill.

A report from the Commissioner said:

“This 2024-25 budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy is set againsta backdrop that includes some significant uncertainties.

“The combined 2022 and 2023 pay awards for firefighters at 12% has impacted upon budgets in addition to the assumption that pay increases for 2024 will continue to be at a challenging level.

“Since the last budget was set we have also seen the further unrest within Israel in addition to the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine which continues to challenge western economies.

“The proposed increase in the Fire and Rescue council tax precept over the four-year period of this Medium Term Financial Strategy is once again lower than the forecast cumulative rate of inflation and wage growth. I will always aim to keep council tax as low as possible without compromising safety.

“The council tax proposal is in line with the referendum limit which was set at 3% for fire and rescue authorities in 2024-25.

“I am acutely aware that household budgets are tight, so I expect every pound of taxpayer’s money invested in fire and rescue to be spent wisely and for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to continually seek efficiencies and look at areas where productivity can be improved and savings achieved without compromising of the safety of our firefighters or communities we are here to serve.”

Staffordshire Commissioner Ben Adams

Members heard at the meeting yesterday that 60% of people who took part in a survey on the proposed precept supported the proposed increase – 1,182 in total. But 784 respondents did not support any increase at all.

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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