Statement from Avon Fire Authority regarding the fire Council Tax precept for 2012/13

Avon Fire Authority Members have today (Friday 10 February) voted to increase the Fire Council Tax precept by 3.96% (a rise of £2.39 per year, or less than 20p a month, for a Band D property). It means the annual bill for a Band D property will be £62.77.

The decision was taken to safeguard the future of Avon Fire & Rescue Service and to protect frontline services.

Despite the increase, Avon remains one of the lowest precepting fire authorities in the country, with the average Band D precept for all Combined Fire Authorities in England £67.70.

It means the budget for 2012/13 will be £46,454m.

Along with the grant Avon Fire Authority receives from the Government, the revenue generated from Council Tax receipts accounts for around 50% of Avon Fire Authority’s total budget.

Although a one off grant was available from the Government if Members had voted to freeze the Council Tax precept, this was rejected. With the grant only available for 2012/13, accepting it would have meant significant savings would need to be made in the following year when the grant will no longer be available.

Avon Fire Authority Chair, Councillor Terry Walker, said “I accept that this was a difficult decision for Members, as no-one wants to see household budgets squeezed, even if it is by a very small amount.  However, the decision to freeze the Council Tax precept again this year would have led to much more difficult decisions beyond 2013, including the possible reduction in frontline staff numbers and/or fire station closures.  As a Fire Authority we have a duty to ensure that an effective fire and rescue service is in place to serve our communities”.