Fire service bosses vote for hike in precept

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Council tax payers will pay an extra one per cent to the fire service next year.

Lancashire’s Combined Fire Authority (CFA) said the decision was made in the face of government cuts worth £5.5m over the next four years.

It means somebody living in a band D property will pay an extra 65p next year, taking the sum paid to the fire service up to £65.50 from £64.85.

Lancashire Fire and Resuce service spokesman John Taylor said the move means an emergency cover review – which could have seen fire engines scrapped – will not now take place until late 2017.

However, there is nothing to suggest freezing the precept, which was one of the options rejected by the authority, would have meant a reduction in emergency cover, he said.

Another option rejected was putting the precept up by two per cent.

Between 2011 and 2015 savings of £14m were made by the fire service.

Some £2.5m of savings have been identified for 2016/17, and a further £1m in future years, the service said.

The CFA is responsible for ‘providing an effective and efficient fire and rescue service that provides maximum value for money.’

It is legally required to enforce fire safety legislation and to reduce the risk of fire causing death, serious injury and property damage.

It is made up of councillors from across the county.

Its Conservative members wanted to freeze the precept for the upcoming year, it is understood.

Labour members, who make up the majority, wanted to raise it by one per cent and rejected the two per cent rise.