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10 October, 2019

Fire and rescue finances on the mend, but funding uncertainty looms

Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, has published plans to improve the finances of North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service.

On the transfer of governance last year, the Commissioner inherited a gap of £2.5m in North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service’s budget. As a result, Julia set up a Finance Working Group to consider how the Service’s finances could be improved, whilst minimising any impact on the fire cover provided to local communities.

Her plans set out new proposals for closing the gap, which has already been narrowed to £1m through common sense collaborations, such as the police and fire services sharing their headquarters.

Commenting on the plans, Julia said:

“Over the past few months, a lot of work has been done to reduce the deficit I inherited, particularly by the Finance Working Group. I’d like to thank them for all their hard work, and for the input of staff and firefighters across the service who have contributed with their ideas.

“These plans will not have an impact on fire cover, and will put us in a much better financial position, but we are not yet out of the woods. I am particularly concerned by new government proposals to cut the scope for raising funds via the precept by 1 per cent.

“It doesn’t sound much, but it amounts to £215,000 which would definitely mean more difficult decisions in the future. It would also severely limit our ability to meet the challenges the services face in the future, such as on call firefighter availability and the dilapidated state of some buildings.

“My survey earlier this year showed that there is support among taxpayers to invest an extra £5 – the equivalent of 42p per month – for their fire and rescue service. This would have a significant impact and make a big difference so I urge everyone to contribute to the consultation.”

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