Notts Fire & Rescue raises council tax as it faces budget shortfalls

Craig Parkin, the incoming Chief Fire Officer at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service
Craig Parkin, Chief Fire Officer at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (Credit NFRS)
By Jamie Waller, Local Democracy Reporter

All Nottinghamshire households will pay nearly three per cent more to support Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service from April.

The lowest value Band A property – the most common type in the county – will pay an extra £1.76 (around 3p per week) for a total of £61.47.

The Combined Fire Authority, which sets the service’s budget and strategy, said it was in a better position than last year.

However, it still has a shortfall of £139,000 in its budget for the 12 months from April, rising to £1.9m the following year.

A cross-party group of councillors approved the rise on Friday (February 23), saying it was good value for residents. The increase will be included in the Fire Authority section of household council tax bills.

Chair Councillor Michael Payne (Lab) said: “This is a balanced budget which gives stability for a crucial emergency service in return for a few pence from hard-working residents, while protecting appliances and fire stations.”

Chief Fire Officer Craig Parkin said: “To control the deficits, we will have to cut costs or get more funding. Our leadership team is very aware of that.

“We are in a better position than we were four weeks ago, when it was expected that the deficit would be £500,000 rather than £139,000.”

The council tax rise is just below the maximum 2.99 per cent level which fire services are allowed to impose.

Councillor Jonathan Wheeler (Con) said: “We can see the impact that freezing council tax would have on the budget for the next three or four years.

“We’ve got to be honest with residents that this is needed.”

Councillor Johno Lee (Con) added: “Last year, we were very worried about the budget, but we’ve got to a decent place.

“I don’t think many of my residents – even those in Band D or E – would have a grievance with paying more for these services.

“Every single one of us will likely need these services at some point.”

The budget assumes there will be five per cent pay award for staff in the coming year, which Councillor Nick Raine (Lab) said he “really hoped they get, as it will just about cover the rising cost of living”.

Band B properties will now pay £71.72 per year, and Band C will pay £81.96.

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