East Sussex Fire and Rescue service to increase council tax while cutting services

The Argus: Fire service to increase council tax while cutting services Fire service to increase council tax while cutting services

Fire chiefs voted to increase council tax and introduce multimillion-pound cuts to frontline services.

East Sussex Fire Authority (ESFA) agreed to increase its council tax precept for 2014/15 by 1.94% as it looks to save £7.1 million over the next five years.

The increase means band D council tax will increase by £1.59 to £83.45 annually.

Fire bosses also agreed to consult the public on proposals to cut up to 80 jobs across the county.

Stations in Mayfield, Forest Row and Herstmonceux are at risk of closure while a fire engine could be lost in Brighton and Hove.

Services in Hastings and Battle could also lose a retained crew.

The proposals were dubbed the St Valentine’s Day Massacre by the authority’s Labour members, who voted against the plans.

The Fire Brigades Union also sent Valentine’s Day cards to members at the meeting held at East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s headquarters in Eastbourne, urging councillors to vote against the plans.

Des Prichard, chief fire officer, said it was an “almost impossible task” finding £7.1 million of savings from a budget of just £39 million.

He said Labour’s suggesting of asking central government for more cash would return a resounding “no”.

Conservative, Green, Liberal Democrat and UKIP councillors from across East Sussex backed the cuts.

A joint statement from Labour's Parliamentary candidates in East Sussex said: “We are very concerned that all of the proposed changes are to frontline services - the people we rely on when we need help most - this is not acceptable.

“Before today people were telling us they want to see their firefighters protected.

“This news will come as a shock and cause outrage.”

Brighton and Hove Green councillor Stephanie Powell also asked for “consideration of remuneration packages from the top down”.

Phil Howson, East Sussex Fire Authority chairman, said: “Reductions in government funding meant that in July 2013, we estimated we needed to find savings of £7.1m over the next five years.

“This is an enormous challenge but we are determined to change the way we work so we can continue to provide a high performing service to the community within the reality of a shrinking budget.”

A ten-week public consultation period on the budget cuts will begin on Monday.

Comments (6)

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5:24am Sat 15 Feb 14

monkeymoo says...

At a time when the people of this country are understanding just how much they need its emergency services.....
The councilors WE VOTE FOR are showing just how much they value YOUR LIFE.

How many of these councilors actually LIVE in the areas they are proposing to downgrade?
At a time when the people of this country are understanding just how much they need its emergency services..... The councilors WE VOTE FOR are showing just how much they value YOUR LIFE. How many of these councilors actually LIVE in the areas they are proposing to downgrade? monkeymoo

6:09am Sat 15 Feb 14

Zamora25 says...

How about reducing the number of councillors and MPs? Do we really need Lucas, Kitkat, Theobald, Davey, Kirby, Weatherley? Why can't one person run the area?
How about reducing the number of councillors and MPs? Do we really need Lucas, Kitkat, Theobald, Davey, Kirby, Weatherley? Why can't one person run the area? Zamora25

6:10am Sat 15 Feb 14

monkeymoo says...

Just read this morning that a woman sadly lost her life in the storms last night in Holborn, London.
She was in a car, that had part of a building collapse on it. Fire fighters had to secure the area and cut her free before any attempt at resuscitation could be made.

Now...
I'm certainly not suggesting anything, but it is interesting that the nearest fire stations to incident were recently CLOSED by Boris Johnson.
Therefore crews had to attend from further away stations....Could this have been a factor in the chance of survival?

Well done to all the emergency services who attended, and sympathies to the family and friends of the lady.
Just read this morning that a woman sadly lost her life in the storms last night in Holborn, London. She was in a car, that had part of a building collapse on it. Fire fighters had to secure the area and cut her free before any attempt at resuscitation could be made. Now... I'm certainly not suggesting anything, but it is interesting that the nearest fire stations to incident were recently CLOSED by Boris Johnson. Therefore crews had to attend from further away stations....Could this have been a factor in the chance of survival? Well done to all the emergency services who attended, and sympathies to the family and friends of the lady. monkeymoo

10:02am Sat 15 Feb 14

Eugenius says...

I'm puzzled by Labour's position on this as this is a 2% threshold budget with cuts exactly the same as they are proposing for the city council so you'd think they would be happy.

Argus has got it slightly wrong as authority members weren't voting on a final budget but to release the draft budget for consultation, and the only options to vote on at his stage were a tax freeze or 2% rise. I understand Labour abstained.
I'm puzzled by Labour's position on this as this is a 2% threshold budget with cuts exactly the same as they are proposing for the city council so you'd think they would be happy. Argus has got it slightly wrong as authority members weren't voting on a final budget but to release the draft budget for consultation, and the only options to vote on at his stage were a tax freeze or 2% rise. I understand Labour abstained. Eugenius

7:52pm Sat 15 Feb 14

jimpy762 says...

Typical public sector.
Typical public sector. jimpy762

8:59pm Sat 15 Feb 14

ourcoalition says...

jimpy762 wrote:
Typical public sector.
What? I'm thick - just don't understand your comment!!!!
[quote][p][bold]jimpy762[/bold] wrote: Typical public sector.[/p][/quote]What? I'm thick - just don't understand your comment!!!! ourcoalition

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