The Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority (BFRA) is asking local people if they would support an increase in Council Tax  Image: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Beds residents asked if they want to pay more for the county’s fire service

The Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority is asking residents if they would support a council tax increase of £2.86 a year on the current Band D Council Tax to support the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2019/20.

The results of the survey will be presented to members of the BFRA at their budget setting meeting. This will be held at Dunstable Community Fire Station on 7 February 2019 at 10am.

Cllr Paul Downing Image supplied by Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Cllr Paul Downing, chair of the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority said:

“Additionally, we are also asking if council taxpayers could agree with a slightly higher increase of between £3 and £5 per year instead.

“Although this is not planned and, in any case, would trigger a public vote, we simply wish to gauge the level of support for any such proposal.”

Funding reduced by nearly £12 million since 2010/11

Up to and including the 2019/20 budget, the Authority has seen the Government’s revenue and capital funding reduce by £11.7m since 2010/11. Continued and further reductions to both revenue and capital are forecast at £3.974m over the 2020/21 to 2022/23 financial years.

To manage these funding reductions, the Authority has introduced savings and efficiencies of £5.811m, with at least a further £1.017m planned.

Revenue and Capital budget pressures including pay awards, general inflation and the replacement 999 call handling system have been included within this budget setting cycle.

To take part in the consultation visit www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BFRSBud2019 . This link also contains more information about the change. The consultation closes at 12.01 on Friday 25 January 2019.

Cllr Paul Downing said:

“I am confident that the Bedfordshire Fire Service is effective and efficient and keeps people safe, but there does need to be a small increase in public contributions to maintain this level of performance.”