When news happens, text CIT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Tax freeze will 'inevitably' hit Lancashire's fire services
COUNTY fire bosses have agreed a council tax freeze – despite facing a £6million funding gap during the next three years.
Lancashire’s chief fire officer Chris Kenny has warned that the budget reductions will ‘inevitably’ affect services.
Leaders of the Fire Brigades Union in Lancashire have voiced fears that such cuts are equivalent to 170 firefighter posts being lost or the loss of the entire retained service.
Since 2007 bosses have revealed that they have trimmed £13million worth of spending – but while efforts have been made to minimise the effect on front-line services, this will not continue.
Mr Kenny added: “We will continue to review all parts of our organisation and will be doing this systematically to make sure we identify all opportunities to meet this most significant financial challenge.
“While protecting the public is our priority, to achieve £10million in savings, it is inevitable there will be an impact on the numbers of fire engines, firefighters or working patterns.
“This will be considered later this year during our emergency cover review.” Fire authority members have already been told that the service will have to dip into its reserves to balance the books this year, despite making substantial ‘back-office’ savings to date.
Several boroughs including Burnley, Pendle and Hyndburn, have already agreed council tax freezes.
And a similar approach has been adopted by first-tier authorities such as Blackburn with Darwen Council and Lancashire County Council.
Lancashire Constabulary has voted on a two per cent increase but the force will still have to find cuts of £6million this year and £20million during the next three years.