South Yorkshire fire chiefs set to debate Council Tax levy

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South Yorkshire residents will find out next week whether they are going to be asked to pay more Council Tax to increase the share awarded to the county’s fire service.

Fire Authority members, who oversee how the fire service budget is spent, will decide whether to freeze its share of the Council Tax levy for the next financial year or seek a 1.97 per cent increase.

Householders in Band D currently pay £65.04 per year for the county’s fire service - around £1.25 per week.

If the 1.97 per cent increase is approved it will generate 424,000 in extra funding for the fire service - £163,000 more than would be raised by accepting a Government grant if the freeze is approved.

The Government has said that any Council Tax increase of two per cent or more would trigger a referendum, and has made a grant available to fire authorities which decide not to make any increase at all. It is estimated that the ‘freeze grant’ would be worth £261,000 to the South Yorkshire Authority.

Fire Authority Members will make their decision on Council Tax at a meeting on Monday, February 16.

Fire chiefs have had their annual budget slashed by over recent years because of Government cuts.