Fire stations could save on business rates to keep full-time cover in the county

Full time fire and rescue cover in the county faces a cut

Full time fire and rescue cover in the county faces a cut

First published in News
Last updated

FIRE stations could have their business rates waived to keep two-crew full time fire and rescue cover in the county.

The idea of such an unprecedented measure is now doing the rounds at Herefordshire Council's Brockington HQ.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Authority (HWFRA) would save save some £36,000 on Hereford fire station alone if the waiver was implemented.

The overall saving in Herefordshire is estimated at around £145,000 toward a £767,000 savings target across the service as a whole.

Hereford City Council  already  faces a motion to put £50,000 towards full-time cover over the next two years and seen as a "down payment" on a referendum over the issue of full-time cover.

HWFRA  doesn't want that referendum with its estimated £300,000 cost on a budget plan that already bargains for extensive cuts.

But HWFRA member and Herefordshire councillor Jim Kenyon intends to pitch a referendum to the authority in October.

If successful, that motion would commit HWFRA to a public vote on raising the fire service precept beyond its present 2% cap.

Coun Kenyon has already raised the waiving of fire station business rates with Herefordshire Council  and put the £50,000 motion to Hereford City Council.

That £50,000 commitment was, he said, a test of what the council stood for.

The county will have two full-time fire crews on standby until next month at least.

In June, HWFRA deferred a decision on cutting full-time 999 cover out of Hereford fire station down to a single crew.

Thousands put their names to a petition launched by Hereford fire fighters to support a second crew.

Many of those to have signed said they were prepared to pay more in the council tax precept raised by the fire authority to keep current 999 cover.

Ledbury and Tenbury keep their two retained appliances while the stations at Leominster, Ross-on-Wye, Bromyard and Whitchurch stay as is.

HWFRA already accepts that the cuts will compromise response times, but, maintains that, with the retained crews, enough back up is in place.

As proposed, full-time fire and rescue fire cover at Hereford station would come down to a single appliance and no more than seven fire fighters on a shift.

Those seven - presuming all are present - would be the full-time 999 response for the whole county, including the manning of specialist appliances, with Malvern as the nearest full-time back-up.

Comments (3)

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3:46pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Mr.Herefordian says...

£300,000 for a referendum what nonsense. Cut the Councillors expencies on the Fire Authority I am sure they would not mind. Rate payers have paid their money this year for this Authority why pay again out of our money in the City Council, I am sure many people would love to have their business rates abolished .
£300,000 for a referendum what nonsense. Cut the Councillors expencies on the Fire Authority I am sure they would not mind. Rate payers have paid their money this year for this Authority why pay again out of our money in the City Council, I am sure many people would love to have their business rates abolished . Mr.Herefordian
  • Score: 3

3:48pm Mon 18 Aug 14

J A F O says...

I'm not sure I understand this story. Is it suggesting that currently an essential tax funded service is using a large chunk of it's funding in order to pay tax.
If you look up 'business rates' it talks of how they are used in part to fund essential services like the fire service.
Well it seems the fire services funding of the fire service isn't working out too well, perhaps a change of plan is required.
I'm not sure I understand this story. Is it suggesting that currently an essential tax funded service is using a large chunk of it's funding in order to pay tax. If you look up 'business rates' it talks of how they are used in part to fund essential services like the fire service. Well it seems the fire services funding of the fire service isn't working out too well, perhaps a change of plan is required. J A F O
  • Score: 1

4:34pm Mon 18 Aug 14

fmrbill says...

Lets waste another 300k on a public referendum what a good idea, pls councillor we all would like more police front counter staff more nurses better access to gps etc etc, pls reliease we as a country our bust, why not say to fire brigdade, go to a national service instead of regions, save money on high grade wages public golden egg pensions, then you save money and we as tax payers get value for services, which we aint getting yet, same as police go national service say money, pensions on chief constsbles etc etc then we as local people could have local services, simple but no yrt agsin a local councillor wasting our money on more referendums. Think outside the box going nayional services will happen one day do it now be forward thinking for a change
Lets waste another 300k on a public referendum what a good idea, pls councillor we all would like more police front counter staff more nurses better access to gps etc etc, pls reliease we as a country our bust, why not say to fire brigdade, go to a national service instead of regions, save money on high grade wages public golden egg pensions, then you save money and we as tax payers get value for services, which we aint getting yet, same as police go national service say money, pensions on chief constsbles etc etc then we as local people could have local services, simple but no yrt agsin a local councillor wasting our money on more referendums. Think outside the box going nayional services will happen one day do it now be forward thinking for a change fmrbill
  • Score: 1

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