Council Tax rise helps secure financial future of Fire and Rescue Service in East Sussex

East Sussex Fire Authority has agreed to increase Council Tax by 1.94%.  The increase means an average Band D Council Tax will increase by just 3 pence per week, to £86.72 a year.

Crowborough Fire Station Beacon Road in Crowborough appliance blue lights

Following a meeting of the Authority on 11th February 2016 the Chairman of the Fire Authority 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.

Funding from central government is still being reduced and the Authority has already planned to deliver savings of £1.9m in 2016/17.

To date through their ‘Changing the Service, Shaping the Future’ programme East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) have already identified savings of almost £6.4m between 2014/15 – 2020/21, but they estimate they will need to cut another £0.2m to close our funding gap.

The Authority comprises 12 councillors nominated by East Sussex County Council and 6 councillors nominated by Brighton & Hove City Council.  East Sussex Fire Authority employs 705 people (full time equivalents), of whom over 540 are operational staff.  The Authority provides a fire and rescue service from 24 fire stations to more than 800,000 people across East Sussex and the City of Brighton & Hove.

Overall changes in Council Tax for an average Band D property in Crowborough

2015/16 2016/17 Increase % change
EAST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL £1,203.93 £1,251.90 £47.97 3.99
EAST SUSSEX FIRE AUTHORITY £85.07 £86.72 £1.65 1.94
SUSSEX POLICE & CRIME COMMISSIONER £143.91 £148.91 £5.00 3.47
WEALDEN DISTRICT COUNCIL £174.06 £177.44 £3.38 1.90
CROWBOROUGH TOWN COUNCIL £151.56 £151.56 £0.00 0.00
TOTAL £1,758.53 £1,816.53 £58.00 3.30

How the Fire Authority Spend their money

For next financial year, East Sussex Fire Authority’s budget has been set at £38.4 million. The Authority is funded from three main sources:

  • Council Tax (65%)
  • Government Grant (16%)
  • Business Rates (19%)

As the following table shows about three quarters (74%) of the money is spent on staff:

For next financial year, East Sussex Fire Authority’s budget has been set at £38.4 million.  The Authority is funded from three main sources:      Council Tax (65%)     Government Grant (16%)     Business Rates (19%)  About three quarters of the money is spent on staff:      Employees (74%)     Running expenses (25%)     Capital financing (3%)     Contribution to reserves (2%)     Offset in part by income and service specific grants (-4%)

Charts from the Fire Authority’s leaflet explaining how they are funded and what they spend.

 

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service want to keep you safe

After introducing Home Safety visits in Brighton, ESFRS are about to roll the project across the rest of the country, starting in Wealden.  Their is also a programme of free safety checks for local businesses.

Fire Authority Chairman Phil Howson explained that both projects are a way of further reducing the number of emergency calls:

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. T his project has seen great success in Mile Oak, Brighton 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.East Sussex Safer Business Training

To see if you are eligible for a Home Safety visit please call them on 0800 177706.  Or see their website: www.esfrs.org/your-safety.

Click on the following link if you run a business in East Sussex and want to know about risk assessment: Safer Business Training.

During 2016/17 the Service will undertake a review of its Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP).  The plan will assess risk and need in the community and will help the Authority to plan the most effective use of its resources in saving lives, improving public safety and reducing emergency incidents.

If you would like to get involved with the IRMP please email IRM@esfrs.org.

Council Tax and Budget Information can be found in their 2016/17 Council Tax leaflet.

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