Commenting on the release of the Government’s funding settlement for the police and fire service on December 16, Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said that while he is extremely pleased that the difficult financial position of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service – as the second-lowest funded fire service in the country – has been recognised, the settlement for policing is looking less than anticipated and needs further consideration.
The funding of Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is made up of a mixture of government grants and funding from local taxpayers through a precept on the council tax.
The settlement for Northamptonshire for 2022/23 gives the Commissioner the ability to ask for a council tax precept for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service of £5, which is more than suggested for most other fire services in the country.
The Commissioner has lobbied the Government to allow him to ask for more support for Northamptonshire Fire and he said that this settlement is a positive endorsement of that.
The settlement for policing expects that Commissioners nationally will ask for a £10 council tax precept increase across each of the next three years, but the funding that would come from central grants appears less than had been expected.
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said that he now needs to consider the details of today’s settlement before taking his council tax proposals out to consultation with the public next week.
Stephen Mold said: “I am really pleased that the difficult financial position of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, which results from its time as a department of the former Northamptonshire County Council, has been recognised – and I thank the county’s MPs who have supported my requests to the government to be able to ask the public for more support to put our fire service on a firmer footing.
“An increase of £5 a year would give our fire service some financial certainty from which to plan further improvements. I will be asking local people to tell me what they think when I launch the consultation next week.
“The amount of central government grant to policing appears less than I had expected however, and I will need to assess what that means for us before putting my precept proposals out to the public next week.
“Local council taxpayers have supported us to be able to make significant investments in both police and fire and rescue services over the past five years – we are on target to have more police officers than ever before, there are more firefighters and both services are better equipped to do their job. I want to ensure that we are able to sustain these improvements and that people in Northamptonshire receive a better service that makes the county a safer place.
“We have a busy, growing county that needs strong, responsive emergency services. Asking for more money, however much needed, is not an easy decision however, so I will be asking the public for their views as we work on our budget proposals for the next financial year.”
The budget consultation is expected to begin on Monday 20 December.