Survey shows ‘positive response’ to fire service’s plan to increase tax


- Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority has increased its share of the council tax bill by almost two per cent – despite calls from members to rethink planned vehicle changes.

The authority’s precept for a Band D home is to set to increase by £1.26, meaning the annual cost to householders in a Band D property will rise from £65.52 to £66.78 - an increase of 1.92 per cent.

Despite the increase the fire authority’s overall annual spend will decrease from £28,447,000 to £27,987,000 – a fall of £460,000 – or about 1.6 per cent.

Appearing at a meeting of the fire authority of February 9, deputy chief executive Matthew Warren told members that the reduction would be funded from the service’s reserves.

“We have £2.6million in our reserve budget and that appears to be a healthy margin. It is not a bad position for us to be in and this stage,” said Mr Warren.

It was also heard that due the increase in houses that the service covers it will be gaining more money from its portion of the council tax bill.

Although the service is in a “strong position” some members called for another look at the £1,725,000 vehicle replacement programme.

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“Last month you suggested we went out on a lot less calls – so therefore I think they [fire engines] should be made to last another two or three years rather than buy now when we are in austerity,” said Cambridgeshire County Council member, Roger Henson. In response Mr Warren explained that the life of the fire engine is only 12 years and if they weren’t replaced they could end up costing more with parts that may be needed for repairs.

The decision comes following a questionnaire issued by the service, in which 73 per cent of the 154 respondents said they were “positive and generally accepted” the rise.