Cambridgeshire Fire Service freezes Council Tax element

Fire engine

Fire engine - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue looks like the only authority to freeze its portion of Council Tax for next year.

The fire service has already made £4.2million of savings so the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority is looking at keeping its precept at the same level as the current year.

Savings were made through combining its fire control with Suffolk, changing firefighters’ shifts, making efficiencies in support staff and services and means that no further cuts will need to be made for the time being.

The authority, which is instead looking at accepting an additional grant of £183,000, has launched a public consultation to get residents’ view ahead of setting it’s budget.

Cambridgeshire police has announced a just under two per cent increase and Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council are expected to make similar rises when they set their budgets early this year.

Sir Peter Brown, chairman of the Fire Authority, said: “The service took early action on budget savings by developing a well thought-out Service Redesign Programme to find £4.2m which was approved by the Fire Authority.

“These savings have already been realised and I am pleased that we are in a position to freeze our part of the council tax precept for the next financial year.”

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Graham Stagg, chief fire officer, added: “We have made some of the savings for this Comprehensive Spending Review period early, so not only can we freeze our portion of the Council Tax but we are able to reinvest some of the money back into the service in the short term to improve our frontline appliances and equipment.

“That’s not us out of the water though; we are expecting further significant budget cuts to come out of the next Comprehensive Spending Review from 2015 onwards, and we are already planning where we might be able to make further savings. As much as we have been able to protect the frontline from the budget cuts made over the last couple of years, we cannot guarantee that will be the case from 2015 onwards. We will however, do all we can to minimise the impact.”

INFORMATION: The consultation will run until January 29. Send your comments to Matthew Warren, director of resources, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Headquarters, Hinchingbrooke Cottage, Brampton Road, Huntingdon, PE29 2NA or email