On Tuesday, 6 February, Royal Berkshire Fire Authority’s Management Committee met to consider Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s 2024/25 Budget and Band D Council Tax precept. The proposed budget has now been recommended for agreement by the Fire Authority on 15 February 2024.
The proposed increase in the council tax precept for 2024/25 is 2.99% (£2.36 more a year per Band D household), which will be used to continue to develop how RBFRS delivers its response service to the public, as well as make capital investment in fire stations, vehicles and ICT equipment.
Councillor Jeff Brooks, Chair of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, said:
“This is a budget that not only delivers on the progress made across the estate so far, but crucially identifies key areas where Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service can develop and improve its response to the public.
“Within a range of investments, we plan to strengthen our crewing model to improve fire engine availability to the public. This means that at times throughout 2024/25 we will be able to have up to ten firefighters more than our normal establishment level.
“Funding will also be prioritised to continue our ambitious capital investment programme in our fire stations, vehicles and ICT equipment, including measures to improve the equality of our facilities to attract and retain a more diverse team and make our buildings more environmentally sustainable. For example, we are currently working on introducing solar panels, electrical charging points and LED lighting across our estate and this budget will continue this investment.
“In addition, we will deliver a significant programme of efficiencies, as well as initiating a series of invest-to-save projects and harnessing productivity gains from the use of new technology. We will continue to lobby Government for the appropriate level of central funding to continually develop and improve our services to the public.
“To help make all this possible, we are proposing a small increase in the Council Tax precept, of £2.36 more a year per Band D household. This is the equivalent of less than a penny per day. We believe that the Service offers the best response we can to our residents whilst also providing significant value for money.
“I thoroughly recommend this budget for agreement by the Fire Authority.”
The budget will now be considered at the meeting of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority on 15 February, which will be recorded and uploaded to RBFRS’ YouTube channel following the meeting.