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Dorset Fire And Rescue Increases Its Council Tax Precept

Dorset Fire And Rescue Engine 2

4:21pm 21st February 2013
(Updated 7:39am 22nd February 2013)

Soon, you'll be paying more Council Tax to Dorset Fire and Rescue.

The service is increasing its share of the precept by £4.95 a year for a Band D, mid-range property - that's 9.5p a week.

Fire Chiefs approved the move at a meeting today (Thursday 21st February) and say it will help protect frontline services in the wake of Government spending cuts.

Dorset Fire and Rescue is traditionally one of the lowest funded services in England.

Chairman of Dorset Fire Authority, Councillor Rebecca Knox, said: "The Dorset Fire Authority recognises that there is a need to keep household bills as low as possible but that without this small increase of 9.5p per week, the fire and rescue service here in Dorset - for which we are all rightly proud - would find it difficult to maintain the essential services it provides. Even with this increase we are still well below the average fire and rescue service precept level, plus we will still face a £2m shortfall over the coming years."

Chief Fire Officer, Darran Gunter added: "The Service has already delivered substantial savings in recent years and are forecast to exceed over £4m savings per year by 2015/16 (representing an ongoing annual saving of 14% in the budget) and cumulatively the savings will total over £29m up to and including 2016/17. Senior management posts have been reduced and many support functions have already been downsized or outsourced, including Clerk and Treasurer, legal services, payroll and pensions management, democratic services and procurement for example, so there is very little room for further savings."

For 2013/14 the Government has amended its local referendum principles and decided to reward those fire and rescue authorities whose 2012/13 council tax was in the lower quartile by allowing them to increase their share of council tax by two per cent or £5.00 (whichever is higher) without a local referendum.

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