Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority yesterday agreed to increase its Council Tax precept by 1.75 per cent from April 2017.

This will see residents living in Band D properties pay 2.4 pence more per week – an annual contribution to the fire and rescue service of £71.56.

The budget will be channelled into delivering the Service’s three priorities of; education and engagement, community safety and wellbeing and planning, resilience and response. In delivering these priorities there will be a continued push to look for opportunities to collaborate with a range of partners, including those in health and other emergency services.

Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority Councillor Stephen Sweeney said:

“This coming year we will receive a Government funding cut of £1.82 million and so an increase of 2.4 pence per week in Council Tax is necessary to ensure that we can continue to provide the first-class service that our communities have come to expect and that they deserve.

“We continue to be a low cost authority in terms of per head of the population, while maintaining our position as one of the best performing fire and rescue services in the country. We are confident that the weekly increase of just 2.4 pence for the average Band D household will ensure that the safety of our residents and firefighters is not compromised, and that our vision of making Staffordshire one of the safest places to be can continue to be fulfilled.”

The overall budget has been set at £39.94 million, with 2017/18 being the second year of an approved Efficiency Plan, which included savings of £4 million to be delivered by 2019/20.