Fire authority for Brighton and Hove puts up council tax by just under 2 per cent

Posted On 14 Feb 2016 at 6:33 pm

The fire authority serving Brighton and Hove has agreed to raise council tax by just under 1.94 per cent in the financial year starting in April.

Members of East Sussex Fire Authority agreed the rise on Thursday (11 February) as it set its £38.4 million budget for the coming year.

The fire authority said: “The increase means band D council tax will increase by just 3p per week to £86.72 a year.

Councillor Philip Howson

Councillor Philip Howson

“The authority has achieved a sound financial base in difficult times, with good progress made in identifying and delivering savings.

“Funding from central government is still being reduced and the authority has plans to deliver agreed savings of £1.9 million in 2016-17.

“However, increasing council tax by 1.94 per cent will enable the authority to balance the budget and ensure it is sustainable for the future as we continue our work to make our communities safer.”

Council tax is one of the three main sources of income for the fire authority. It accounts for 65 per cent, with business rates contributing 19 per cent and government grant making up the remaining 16 per cent.

Almost three quarters of the budget is spent on staff, with a quarter paying for the day-to-day running costs.

Six of the 18 members of the authority are Brighton and Hove City Council members. They are Adrian Morris, Jackie O’Quinn and Caroline Penn, all Labour, Green councillor Lizzie Dean and Carol Theobald and Garry Peltzer Dunn for the Conservatives.

Fire authority chairman Phil Howson said: “There is no doubt that the current financial climate has forced us to look again at how we serve our communities and there have been difficult decisions to make but we are confident we have a way forward which secures our financial future.

“We will be focusing on delivering those savings previously identified and working to ensure that public money is spent to the best effect.

“With this in mind the service will be investing in transforming the way we provide our services.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of our communities and remain committed to providing an excellent service that we can all be proud of.

“The fire and rescue service has had notable success in driving down the number of emergencies it needs to attend through our work with the community and local businesses.

“Ongoing projects include ‘safe and well’ visits which provide a more holistic approach to community safety and develop a strong network with our partners throughout the service area.

“This project has seen great success in Mile Oak and we are now rolling the project out across the rest of the county, starting in Wealden.

“This year we are also launching safer business training, free courses which aim to support and educate local business owners about mitigating the dangers surrounding fire and road safety and the impact they can have on their business.”

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