Public to pay almost three per cent more in fire service charges next year, councillors decide

South Yorkshire householders will see the cash they pay towards providing the county’s fire and rescue service increase by almost three per cent next year.

Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 11:26 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 11:27 am
Coun Chris Lamb

Although the rise is above inflation, it is substantially below the 14 per cent hike in the contributions they will make towards providing the county’s policing service.

But two councillors who sit on the service’s controlling body, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, voted against the rise in the belief that too much was being asked of Council Tax payers and the increase could be reduced by savings made elsewhere.

Coun Steve Ayris, a Lib Dem representative on Sheffield Council, and Coun Cynthia Ransome, a Conservative on Doncaster Council, both asked for their votes to be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

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Authority chairman, Barnsley Coun Chris Lamb, said: “I think the public of South Yorkshire will be willing to take that burden in the knowledge they will have a first class service keeping them safe.

“We will see improvements in the fabric of our buildings. This investment will start to come to fruition this year and in 2020.”

Coun Ayris said: “I feel Council Tax payers have taken a hard hit in recent times. I will not be supporting this recommendation because I think there is far more latitude to look at mitigating the increase in Council Tax.”

New facilities expected in the next two years include a replacement fire station on Broadway in Barnsley.

Details of the construction are still being finalised, but it is expected to feature a conventional fire station with another building designed for community use.

That could be of ‘modular’ construction, created in a factory and built on site.

If that route was chosen, it would be likely to speed up construction time and could reduce costs.

Arrangements will have to be made to accommodate the firefighters stationed at Broadway while the rebuilding project is in progress.

Authority members were told the cost of that would be factored into the budget.