Bucks' fire service votes to put up council tax bill

Bucks' fire service votes to put up council tax bill

Published by Dan Gooding at 1:06pm 13th February 2020.

We could get up to 20 more firefighters in Buckinghamshire, with a rise in our council tax bills.

The fire service has decided on an almost 2% increase from April - meaning around £1.28 extra on each of our bills for the year.

This means that the amount paid by a band D taxpayer will go up from £64.57 a year to £65.85 a year.

This increase, which equates to about 11p a month, will come into effect on 1 April 2020.

Members set a budget for 2020/21 of £31.3 million, which is about £1 million more than last year.

Mark Hemming, Director of Finance and Assets, said:

“In its report published in December 2019, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services noted that they would like to see improvements to our service in the year ahead, but they also stated that without increased funding it would be difficult to see where progress can be made.

“Although our budget for the year has increased by £1 million in cash terms, the reality is that half of this is required to meet the inflationary cost pressures.

"This leaves a limited amount available to invest in improving the service. This year we have adopted a zero-based approach to our budgeting, which has reviewed every area to ensure that every pound is being spent as effectively as possible.

“In spite of the budgetary constraints I am pleased to say that over the coming year we are investing in up to twenty more firefighters, as well as strengthening our protection and prevention teams.”

Councillor Lesley Clarke OBE, Chairman of Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority, said:

“It is disappointing that even with the results of the inspection report that no additional Government funding has been made available for the service. We will continue to make our case to the Government in the hope of securing additional funding in the next Comprehensive Spending Review.”

Less than 4p from every £1 of council tax paid in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes goes to Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service. Council tax bills in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes will be sent out next month.

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