North Yorkshire Fire Service at risk of borrowing £25million

THE North Yorkshire Fire Service must borrow at least £25million.

According to the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), the sum is equivalent to around 70% of the service’s annual budget and comes after the government cut its capital subsidy.

At a meeting of the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel Michael Porter, director of finance in the commissioner’s office, said the fire precept can only be increased by 1.99%, and that it will not There will be no government capital grant, leaving The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service needs £31.1million to fund its projects over the next five years.

Mr Porter said: “Almost all of that £31million would have to be borrowed. The borrowing would need to be around £25-26m to be able to finance this level of investment.”

The service requires capital funding to pay for vehicles, asset maintenance and fire kit.

Steve Howley, FBU North Yorkshire Brigade Secretary, said: “The Government has left the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in a dreadful position – they have cut all of their capital funding. Coupled with the service’s already dire financial situation, there will be serious implications. The Fire and Rescue Service is now struggling to buy the basics our firefighters need to protect their communities, and struggling to invest in its dilapidated buildings, many of which are unfit for use in 2022. By For example, we still have several stations that do not have adequate facilities for female staff members.

“The government needs to start taking fire and rescue seriously and fund it appropriately. Firefighters in North Yorkshire are staring down the barrel of a gun, either cutting firefighting jobs to pay for basic provisions or not having adequate facilities or equipment. Neither option offers the North Yorkshire public the protection they deserve or need.

“The fire chief and the fire and crime police commissioner need to be open and honest with the public about how dangerous the financial situation is.

“We must not forget that two MPs from North Yorkshire are government ministers, one of them being the Chancellor. They should not allow this to happen, they should protect our firefighters and their constituents, the public of the North Yorkshire.”

The comments come as the amount of additional council tax residents will have to pay to fund police and fire services over the coming year in York and North Yorkshire has been set.

The Police, Fire and Crime Committee unanimously agreed to:

* A 3.69% increase in the policing precept – an average increase of £10 per year for a D-strip property.

* A 1.98% increase in the Fire and Rescue Precept – an average increase of £1.47 per annum for a Band D property.

The increases for the 2022/2023 financial year had been proposed by North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoe Metcalfe following extensive consultation.

She said the money would be invested by the police chief in measures including 34 additional officers assigned to the customer contact centre, 13 additional officers to support neighborhood policing teams, nine officer and additional staff to raise standards and improve the quality of engagement with victims. violence against women and girls and 10 additional officers to reinforce the road police team.

She said she knew it was a difficult time for people so she tried to balance the pressures on household finances with the need to ensure that North Yorkshire Police and the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue had the resources to keep us safe.

“Increasing the precept will allow us to have more police on our streets and support efforts to end violence against women and girls, but with other growing financial pressures it means that there will be an ongoing need to collaborate and develop new efficiencies. while protecting communities,” she said.

“I continue to call for fairer funding for the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service – Ministers must do more to recognize the challenges faced by communities as diverse and sparse as North Yorkshire and York.”

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