Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority

Precept Information 2019-2020

Historically the Authority has relied upon Government grants to fund a significant proportion of its revenue budget (over 63% in 2010/11). In 2010 the Government commenced its austerity plan to reduce national debt and manage the crisis in public finances. The plan resulted in significant reductions in Government grants paid to fire and rescue authorities up to and including 2019/20. Compared to 2010/11 the Authority’s 2019/20 Government grant support has been cut by £15.5m or nearly 50% in real terms.  

The Authority has had to make difficult decisions and approve saving options that maintained a balance budget. The Authority’s priority remains to minimise the impact of grant reductions on frontline services by cutting management, technical and support costs in the first instance. Unfortunately, the Authority was left with no alternative but to find savings from its operational response services that have resulted in a reduction in firefighters, appliances and fire stations.

The Authority has to deal effectively and efficiently with risk, demand and vulnerability associated with fire and response related threats. Whilst demand has fallen over recent years the risk has changed as a result of heightened terrorist threat, increasing environmental events, significant building fires and increased legislative demands following the Grenfell Tower fire. In order to meet those demands the Authority has chosen to increase the council tax precept by just under 3%, the maximum allowed without recourse to a referendum. This increase in funding combined with plans to maximise debt servicing will allow the Chief Fire Officer to make good his commitment to reinvest in frontline services. Notably increasing the number of available fire engines from 26 to 30 and an increase in the number of firefighters from 620 to 642. The Authority will consult the public on its proposals over the next few months and has built this commitment into its five year medium term plan for 2019/20 – 2023/24.

Approximately 75% of the budget remains committed to delivering operational response and preventative services as these functions have been recognised as priority areas by the public following extensive consultation.

merseyfire chart

 

An increase in council tax by just below 3% (the maximum allowable without holding a public referendum), will mean the Band D Council Tax is therefore now £78.84. Most council taxpayers in Merseyside will pay Band A Council Tax of £52.56 about 14p per day towards their Fire and Rescue Service. 

The Authority has set a budget of £60.282m for 2019/20, £0.6m higher than that in 2018/19. The main changes between this year’s budget and last year’s are:

Reductions in support service, management & other costs (£1.7m)
Increase in specific grants (£0.4m)
Forecast inflation and cost increases £2.7m
  £0.6m

The Authority has issued a precept on the five Merseyside District Councils of £29.224 million, Sefton’s contribution to expenditure financed by precept is £6.629 million, which represents 23% of the total precept.


Summary of Revenue Budget & Council Tax Requirement

2018/2019

£000

 

2019/2020

£000

75,269 Gross Expenditure 84,760
-4,802 Net Contribution from Reserves -4,277
-10,766 Income & specific Grants for services -20,201
59,701 Budget Requirement 60,282
     
-336 Collection Fund & Business Rates Surplus -245
-31,419 Government Grant & Business Rate Funding -30,813
     
27,946 Council Tax Requirement 29,224
     
365,022 Tax-base 370,674
£76.56 Band D Equivalent £78.84

Contact the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority

The Authority values the opinions of the people it serves. If you wish to comment about the services of the Authority please contact Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters on 0151 296 4000.

Ian Cummins, CIPFA
Treasurer
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority
Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters,
Bridle Road,
Bootle, L30 4YD

Telephone: 0151 296 4000

E-Mail: iancummins@merseyfire.gov.uk


Last Updated on 06 March 2019