Date: 9th February, 2017
At its meeting today (9 February), Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority approved a budget of £53.735 million for 2017/18.
Within the recommendation was the requirement to increase council tax with a 2.6 pence per week increase for Band D properties in Bournemouth, Dorset, Poole, Swindon and Wiltshire – resulting in an annual fire precept Band D of £70.59 for the Fire and Rescue Service within the council tax for the year starting on 1 April 2017.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service’s commitment to keeping communities safe, with what is one of the lowest operating budgets in the country, includes increasing its level of prevention and protection activity, which has led to the fire & rescue service nationally driving down the number of fires over the past ten years by 50%.
Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell said: “Members have approved a fire precept Band D that is well below the national average, and we also this year received one of the largest funding reductions of all combined authorities, as the Government has granted us 12.3% less than last year. Despite that, we are investing even more in our on-call firefighters, who are so essential to maintaining fire cover in our predominantly rural areas.
“Alongside this, we are completely committed to our prevention and protection activities, targeting those most at risk at home, at work or on the roads, and we will continue working with all our partners, with a focus this year on the new Safety Centre in Swindon, more Salamander courses, the Safe Drive Stay Alive programme for schools and the military. Together with local authorities and health partners, we will deliver a range of schemes that will positively benefit all of our communities.”
Cllr Rebecca Knox, chairman of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “We have a fantastic Fire and Rescue Service, and the Authority decision will ensure that the increased activity in prevention and protection such as Safe & Well visits, community safety education and partnerships with health can be strengthened. We deliver so much to our local communities, from a 24/7 emergency response to an ever increasing range of personal and business safety activities, and we are as committed as ever to investing in firefighter safety.”
More about the Service can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk