Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority met yesterday and agreed to increase its Council Tax precept by 2.75 per cent from April 2018.

This will see residents living in Band D properties pay 4 pence more per week – an annual contribution to the fire and rescue service of £73.53.

The budget will be channelled into delivering the Service’s three priorities which are outlined in the Corporate Safety Plan. These are 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:

“Funding cuts of £1.0 million have been applied to our budget for 2018/19. This means an increase of four pence per week in Council Tax is necessary to ensure that we can continue to keep the communities of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent safe and provide the first-class service that our communities deserve.

“We continue to be a low cost authority in terms of per head of the population, while continuing to drive down the number of fires through targeted prevention work. We are confident that the weekly increase of four 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 live can continue to be fulfilled.”

The overall budget has been set at £40.2million, with 2018/19 being the third year of an approved Efficiency Plan, which has already seen £2.2 million of savings approved and implemented across the Service.