People in Cambridgeshire to pay more towards fire service

People living in a Band D household will pay an additional £1.44 per year of council tax towards the fire service from April.

People living in a Band D household will pay an additional £1.44 per year of council tax towards the fire service from April. - Credit: PA

People in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will pay more in council tax from April towards the fire service.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority receives some of its funding through council tax, and at a meeting on February 10, a two per cent increase of its share of the tax was approved.

This means that people living in a Band D household will pay an additional £1.44 per year, taking it to £74.97 per year being paid towards the service.

At the meeting, the deputy chief executive at the service, Matthew Warren, said the increase would equate to around £440,000 and £450,000 for the year.

That is the equivalent of 10 to 12 firefighters, or 12 to 14 professional support members of staff.

Councillors at the meeting supported the proposals to increase the council tax, but calls were made for better funding to be provided by central government.

Cllr Edna Murphy, chair of the meeting, said she had written to Lord Stephen Greenhalgh, the minister for building safety and fire, asking for a review of the funding methodologies.

Most Read

She said: “As we all know we are a high performing, but low funded fire authority.

“Funding mechanisms in place today do not enable us to plan properly and effectively in the medium term.”

Members at the meeting asked for the letter to also be circulated to the area’s MPs to ask for their support as well.

Mr Warren was asked by one councillor to provide context to the effective cuts the fire service has seen over the last decade.

He said that while it was not an “exact science” the budget had “effectively shrunk” by around £6 million since 2010.

Mr Warren added that while it was ‘not all bad’ as the service had made things more efficient, he said it is now reaching the point where it cannot keep making reductions.