Thursday 22 February 2024
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Council tax for Nottinghamshire fire service could increase by £2.50 per year

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service is looking to increase its portion of council tax as part of budget proposals.

Chief Fire Officer Craig Parkin said the service is facing a £6m deficit over the next six years and the first plans, intending to save £3m, are currently out to public consultation.

Every Nottinghamshire taxpayer currently pays £84.57 per year towards NFRS, but there are plans for this to increase in the next financial year.

Money raised through total annual council tax bills is split out between local councils, the fire authority and the police and crime commissioner.

The issue was discussed during the fire authority meeting on December 16.

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Papers predict that the ‘most likely case’ is a 2.95 per cent council tax increase will be approved, which would create around £826,000 in extra funding.

This would mean the taxpayer would pay £87.06 per year.

But the fire service says the ‘best case scenario’ would be a £5 increase to £89.57 a year, saving the service £1,659,000.

And the ‘worst case scenario’ would be a 1.95 per cent increase – the same as was implemented in 2022/23.

Other plans currently out for consultation involve cuts to some services which would see West Bridgford Fire Station have no crew on duty at all at night, and both London Road and Stockhill stations losing one fire engine each.

But in Ashfield, the fire service plans the return of 24-hour cover at the Kirkby-in-Ashfield station.

Council documents added: “Since the 2022/23 budget was approved there have been significant additional financial pressures on the service.

“Revised inflation and pay award assumptions during the autumn increased
amount of required savings from the efficiency strategy.”

Becky Smeathers, treasurer to the fire authority, said the service is also expecting to receive its finance settlement from the Government next week.

It comes after Nottingham City Council also proposed to hike its part of council tax by the highest permitted percentage of just below five per cent.

Final budget proposals will be considered by the Fire Authority in February 2023.

On the cuts to West Bridgford night time fire response, Rushcliffe MP and councillors condemned plans to reduce emergency fire cover overnight.

There were claims that proposed fire cuts in Nottinghamshire are a “tragedy waiting to happen” at a public meeting discussing the plans.

A public consultation is ongoing on the proposals, which could see Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service reducing its fire crew cover at three stations in order to save £2m.

The major changes, proposed by Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service to reduce a budget deficit, would see West Bridgford Fire Station have no crew on duty at all at night, and both London Road and Stockhill stations losing one fire engine each.

As crews in West Bridgford would come from other areas overnight, average response times are expected to increase by 43 seconds at a station already significantly above the service’s eight-minute target.

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