The LGA has published its report that maps the impact of an expected further 10 per cent cut in 2015/16 on a typical single purpose fire and rescue authority (FRA). The report coninsides with the annual LGA conference due to take place this week. The LGA press release states:
Fire and rescue authorities will need to push the boundaries of innovation and creativity as they continue to strive to protect services from funding cuts, a new report warns today.
To tackle the issue, the LGA is calling for the Government to:
- Review the national resilience and emergency contribution it expects from FRAs and to make sure they are funded accordingly.
- Explore the impact of the funding reductions on risk levels, both at the local level and in terms of national resilience.
- Remove restrictions on FRAs to set tax levels locally without having to hold a referendum.
- Provide more support to FRAs looking considering merging or sharing services including one-off transitional funding.
- Protect local government from further funding cuts and be provided with longer-term funding settlements that cover the life of a Parliament.
- Ensure that reform to the fire and rescue service is led by local government and the emergency services sectors.
A copy of the LGA's AnyFire analysis, along with the LGA's Budget Submission can be found here.
It is based on the expenditure and funding of an average FRA and using a mix of strategies being used across the country to make savings.
AnyFire – key facts
- AnyFire has saved money by moving to a ‘Day Crewing Plus' system with firefighters working an average of 42 hours per week; freezing recruitment and sharing blue light services command and control centre with local police and ambulance services.?
- Council tax precepts would need to be increased by more than 10 per cent every year until 2020 to allow AnyFire to balance its books.?
- Sustained annual growth of 20 per cent per year would be needed to bring AnyFire to a balanced budget by 2020.?
- AnyFire has 22 per cent fewer frontline staff than it has in 2010, a loss of approximately 100 firefighter posts. Three fire stations will have closed or merged with others and the same number will have to close by 2020.
- Staffing salaries would have to be cut by a third by 2020 to manage funding reductions.