We're now part of the York & North Yorkshire Combined Authority

8 February, 2022

Commissioner Zoë comments on North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s financial situation

Commissioner Zoë said:

“First of all, I want to reassure everyone that the equipment our firefighters use meets safety standards and that no matter the challenges we face we will always ensure that the Service has what it needs to protect our communities. The public can remain confident in their Fire Service and the response they will get if they need them.

“There is no hiding the fact that the challenge we face is significant, however we have always been open and honest about North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s financial situation.

“When governance of the Service transferred to the Commissioner in 2018 we inherited a Financial Plan with a £2.6m imbalance across its 4 year life span. Since then, a significant amount of work has been undertaken and Financial Plans set out in February 2021 forecasted a balanced plan by 2023/24.

“Unfortunately, due to unexpected pay awards, the higher costs of utilities and insurance which we are all facing in our personal lives as well, and costs linked to our ageing buildings, our costs are increasing faster than our funding.

“To be clear, the Government has not abolished our funding, but North Yorkshire’s share of Fire and Rescue funding is lower than the national average making it hard to save to pay for capital projects and maintain current service levels.

“I have and am continuing to fight hard for fairer funding for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to improve our share of funding. I am working closely with our MPs, the Police, Fire and Crime Panel and the County and City Councils to make sure our voice is heard. It is disappointing that we did not succeed in getting precept flexibility, but I remain hopeful for future years.

“We have been speaking with communities across North Yorkshire and the City of York as part of our consultation to develop our Fire and Rescue Plan to understand your priorities for the Fire and Rescue Service. I am working with the Chief Fire Officer to look at all options to be more effective and efficient to ensure that we best match our resources to our risk and build a stable and balanced financial plan. I will be holding further consultations with the public this summer regarding those plans.”