Residents are being asked to share their views as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority plans to freeze its council tax precept for 2014/15.
Savings of £4.2 million have already been made by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS), therefore the Fire Authority (CPFA) can afford to freeze its portion of council tax and instead, accept an additional grant of £183,000 from the Government.
The budget issued to the Authority in December was in line with what was expected and therefore the Service has already implemented changes to make these savings. As a result, no further cuts will need to be made at this time.
Sir Peter Brown, CPFA Chairman, said: “The Service took early action on budget savings by developing a well thought-out Service Redesign Programme to find £4.2 million which was approved by the Fire Authority. These savings have already been realised and I am pleased that we are in a position to freeze our part of the council tax precept for the next financial year.”
A new Combined Fire Control with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, changing the shift system for firefighters and making efficiencies in support staff structures and services were among the savings made as part of the Service Redesign Programme.
Chief Fire Officer Graham Stagg said: “We have made some of the savings for this Comprehensive Spending Review period early, so not only can we freeze our portion of the council tax but we are able to reinvest some of the money back into the Service in the short term to improve our frontline appliances and equipment.
“That’s not us out of the water though; we are expecting further significant budget cuts to come out of the next Comprehensive Spending Review from 2015 onwards, and we are already planning where we might be able to make further savings. As much as we have been able to protect the frontline from the budget cuts made over the last couple of years, we cannot guarantee that will be the case from 2015 onwards. We will however, do all we can to minimise the impact.”
Members of the public have until January 29 to make their views known, by sending a comment by post to Matthew Warren, Director of Resources, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters, Hinchingbrooke Cottage, Brampton Road, Huntingdon. Cambridgeshire. PE29 2NA, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fire authority will make a final decision on February 13, once comments have been made.