Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold has proposed an increase of 2.99% a year in the council tax precept paid for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.
An increase of 2.99% amounts to £2.19 a year for the average, Band D household. This increase is lower than the level of inflation, and is the maximum amount suggested by the Government in their financial settlement.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said that the increase means that Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service can continue to deliver and develop its current level of service and will be able to make some investments to improve the service this year.
But as Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is one of the poorest funded in the country, it will face financial challenges in the future.
Stephen Mold said: “Our Fire and Rescue Service is the third lowest funded in the country, with the second lowest precept levels.
“The Service has worked hard to reach a stable financial position – it is efficient and effective and keeps people safe. Thanks to that, we can manage within the budget and invest in some improvements, but future years look more challenging.”
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner said that local taxpayers contribute most of the Service’s funding – 63%. Local business rates contribute 12% and 25% comes from the Government.
“Because taxpayers contribute most of our funding, the council tax precept makes an enormous difference to our budget,” Stephen Mold said. “Our budget survey showed that people were prepared to pay even more than the 2.99% I am proposing, and I am very grateful for that support.”
Over the last four years since the Fire and Rescue Service transferred to the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, there has been an increase in the number of firefighters and a £10m programme of capital investment has transformed the Service.
Eight new fire appliances and a 42-metre turntable ladder have joined the fleet, and four more will be delivered soon, ensuring that firefighters have the best possible equipment to keep the county safe.
Money is being set aside in the 2024/25 budget for work that will make further changes to improve the way the Service works, to improve support services to make the Service more efficient, and to improve the culture of the organisation and the wellbeing of firefighters.
The Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue precept accounts for around 4% of the council tax paid by a Band D household in Northamptonshire.
The council tax precept proposals will be discussed by Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel at a public meeting on Tuesday 6 February.