Would you pay more council tax to safeguard Cambridgeshire fire service?

Taxpayers in Cambridgeshire are being asked to pay another £2 a year to safeguard the fire service.

Taxpayers in Cambridgeshire are being asked to pay another £2 a year to safeguard the fire service. Picture: Archant Library.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority has launched a consultation to ask residents if they would support up to a three per cent increase to its proportion of council tax for 2018/19, equating to an extra £2.01 a year for a Band D property.

It says since 2010, it has had to make savings of around £6m after year on year cuts to its funding from central government.

A two per cent increase in council tax (an additional £1.34 for a band D property) will enable the Authority to maintain the current level of service and safeguard the frontline next year. However, the service wishes to improve its training programme for firefighters, particularly probationers, and deliver better training.

It is therefore asking residents how they would feel about paying up to an additional one per cent – so up to three per cent in total - to help fund these improvements.

The service anticipates that over the next five years it will need to recruit around 70 new firefighters to replace those likely to leave through retirement or other reasons.

Fire authority chairman Kevin Reynolds said: 'The average number of incidents our firefighters attend has reduced significantly over the last ten years.

'Although this is great news in terms of public safety, and something we are proud of with our efforts to prevent fires from happening in the first place, it has a negative knock on affect as our firefighters do not get the same operational experience as they once used to. Therefore they are becoming more and more reliant on training to maintain the skills.

Most Read

'With the challenge ahead to recruit around 70 new firefighters in five years, we would like to improve the way we continue to train newly qualified firefighters and maintain the skills of experienced firefighters. To do this we need to invest in our training programme and facilities.'

Mr Reynolds said Cambridgeshire was one of the lowest cost fire services in the country. Increasing the council tax by two per cent would provide it with an extra £375,000 and by three per cent an extra £562,000.

To have your say on the proposed council tax increase, click here.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter