East Sussex Fire Authority has agreed a small increase in Council Tax to help protect the public.
The proposal was debated at a Fire Authority meeting on 13 February 2020 and means Band D Council Tax will increase by just 4 pence per week, to £95.53 a year. The Fire Authority’s net revenue budget has been set at £39.737m.
The funding, alongside a better than anticipated grant settlement from central government and savings of £0.396m (none of which affect frontline services) means East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service can balance its budget for the coming year and can continue its work to provide emergency response, fire safety regulation and community safety programmes. It carries out a large range of preventive work with vulnerable people, care homes and other businesses.
Chairman Roy Galley said: “We have made steady progress with delivering savings and efficiencies, a fact which has been recognised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Police and Fire and Rescue Service. Despite this, we are still facing financial challenges and we believe that this increase is a reasonable way to ensure we can continue to protect the public. We provide a good, well valued service and we are determined to make it first class.”
The Fire and Rescue Service is funded from three main sources:
- Council Tax 70%
- Government Grant 8%
- Business Rates 22%
The main areas the Authority spends its revenue budget are:
- Employees 76%
- Running expenses 25%
- Capital financing 2%
- Net contribution to reserves 3%
- Offset in part by income and service specific grants -6%