East Sussex Fire Authority approves council tax rise

Fire & Rescue East Sussex.
Fire & Rescue East Sussex.

An increase in council tax paid to East Sussex Fire Authority has been approved today (Tuesday February 14).

East Sussex County Council has already agreed a 4.99 per cent rise in its precept, which will mean a Band D property will have to pay an extra £62.46 a year.

Meanwhile Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has already gained approval for a 3.36 per cent rise, which will be on top of any increases by district, borough or parish councils.

Members of East Sussex Fire Authority have approved a 1.94 per cent increase, adding an extra £1.68 a year for the average household.

Council tax funds more than two-thirds of East Sussex Fire and Rescue’s expenditure.

Phil Howson, fire authority chairman, said: “We have recently asked the public what they want to see from their fire and rescue service in the future. As a result we are investing in a pilot which means firefighters attend certain medical emergencies with South East Coast Ambulance Service and we have made a commitment to improving safety within businesses and water safety across our area.”

Savings of £1.4m have already been identified for 2017/18 and a total of £1.9m over the five-year medium term financial plan.

These include plans to move into a shared headquarters with Sussex Police and completing changes to how fire engines are crewed.

It is also exploring ways of making the most of under-utilised space at Preston Circus Fire Station in Brighton by supporting work on a £2.5m investment with partners.

These proposals are at an early stage and include retaining the fire station at its existing location.

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