Precept rise approved by Fire Authority

A slight increase has been approved for the council tax precept for fire, at a meeting of the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority (WYFRA).

Two fire engines parked up in a fire station.

The 2.99% rise will see Band D taxpayers pay an extra £2.31 a year.

The WYFRA has approved the increase due to the cost of living still remaining high across the UK, alongside important investment and new equipment still being needed by the fire service. However, despite the rise, the precept remains the fourth lowest cost-per-head-of-population in the country.

Chair Cllr Darren O’Donovan said: “We must balance being extremely careful with our money, with providing the best level of service for people across West Yorkshire – a task that gets harder every year due to Central Government refusing to invest properly in our fire and rescue services – we haven’t received capital funding for a decade now which has made things very tricky. Rather than funding us properly the Government expect the general public to pick up their bill.

“Despite this, careful planning and risk management through our community risk strategy has allowed us to continue to work to the best of our abilities – becoming more efficient by investing in greener and more state-of the-art buildings and infrastructure.

“I understand it’s difficult for us to ask the public for more money during a time when all of us are feeling the pinch – however by not properly funding us the Government have left us no choice. This rise will allow us to continue to provide the excellent fire and rescue service that the community in West Yorkshire deserves.”

Chief Fire Officer John Roberts said: “It’s a big year for WYFRS as we enter our fiftieth year of keeping the communities of West Yorkshire safe. We have had to make significant investments in our infrastructure and fleet, plus deal with all the other cost of living issues like higher bills. Despite this we are among the fourth best value for money fire and rescue services in the country.

“We’d like to thank the people of West Yorkshire for their understanding at this change in the precept, and reassure them that we will continue to work hard to continue providing the excellent level of service and safety that they deserve.”