Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority is proposing an increase of 4.6 per cent to the portion of council tax which goes to Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service. This equates to just under £5 per year, or 9p per week and we want to hear what you think about the proposal.
The Authority is nationally recognised for delivering a top performing fire and rescue service, which constantly reviews how its services are delivered, to ensure that it runs effectively and efficiently for the public of Shropshire.
More than 75 per cent of the Service’s budget is spent on employing staff – its most valuable resource. The remainder is spent on essential supplies and services, transport, property and information and communications technology, as well as funding capital programmes.
More than 75 per cent of our funding comes from council tax, with the remainder funded from business rates and government grant.
We want to continue to improve how we deliver fire cover and support to businesses and residents throughout Shropshire, while also investing any savings to minimise borrowing for larger projects such as refurbishment of stations and the replacement of fire engines.
Why a 4.6% council tax increase?
This year, the government has allowed fire and rescue services to increase council tax by up to £5. We think that this covers our pay and inflation pressures, but also ensures that we continue to deliver effective fire cover and support to businesses and residents across Shropshire.
If we increase council tax by £4, we would not have enough income to cover the budget, which would mean using reserves or reducing what we currently do.
If we increase council tax by £3.50, there would be no investment to maintain service delivery, and this would reduce response and support to our communities.
In 2022/23, officers began a number of reviews to answer the following questions:
• How do we make our on-call service more sustainable?
• How do we ensure that we have the right equipment and vehicles in the right place, at the right time?
• How do we make best use of operational technology?
• How do we ensure that we are making the most of our money and our people?
• How do we work better with our partners and our neighbours?
• How do we know that we are getting it right?
Chairman of Shropshire Fire Authority, Councillor Eric Carter said: “We believe that this council tax increase will allow us to find the answers to these vital questions and maintain our support and protection to the public, both now and in the future, whilst also looking after our most important resources, our staff.
“We will ensure that your £5 per year is spent in the most effective way. We are always striving to improve the service you receive and prepare for changes in technology and community priorities.”
SFRS has outlined its Community Risk Management Plan for 2021-2025, which shows how we are committed to making Shropshire safer.
What influences our plans?
• Defining risk
• The diversification in agriculture
• Environmental impact
• National risk
• Population and demographics
• Transport etc.
You can see the full CRMP here.
Chairman Eric Carter added: “The proposals we are putting forward will help us to deliver the objectives laid out in our CRMP 2021-2025. This includes increasing engagement and reaching out the communities we serve in new ways and evaluating our resources.
“It is extremely important to us that you have your say so we can best understand our communities, so I encourage all residents to get in touch and let us know how you feel about the proposed increase.”
To let us know your thoughts on the proposed increase of 9p per week please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively keep an eye on our social media channels for our poll.