Northamptonshire Police Fire & Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold is asking for an increase of £5 a year – under 10p a week – in the council tax precept for Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service, which would bring the amount paid by a Band D household in Northamptonshire towards their fire service to £68.20 a year.
The Government has given eight fire services – including Northamptonshire – the ability to ask for a one off £5 increase in the fire precept because of their poor financial positions: Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is the second-lowest funded in the country with the lowest level of reserves.
Since transferring to the governance of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner from Northamptonshire County Council, the Fire and Rescue Service has reached a more stable financial position and improved performance, but its low funding has made it difficult to plan for the longer term.
The £5 increase will enable the Chief Fire Officer and his team to continue to replace essential equipment and recruit firefighters, while working to ensure that Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is able to modernise to meet the challenges of keeping the community safe into the future.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “I’m very grateful that I have been given the ability to ask for a £5 a year increase in the precept for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service. It will give us stability from which we can modernise and extend the work that our firefighters and staff carry out to make the community safer.
“Our fire service already works closely with police to share services and buildings wherever it can, and that work will continue to make changes and build capacity in a cost-effective way so that we can focus the maximum amount of funding on the effective delivery of frontline services.”
Around 4% of the council tax paid by a household in Northamptonshire goes to Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service.
The Commissioner’s council tax precept proposals will be discussed by the Police, Fire & Crime Panel at a meeting held in public, on Thursday 3 February.