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Cambridgeshire fire authority wants 3% tax rise to pay for enhanced training


By Paul Brackley


The fire service is not called to as many incidents as it one was, which can impact on firefighters experience when it matters
The fire service is not called to as many incidents as it one was, which can impact on firefighters experience when it matters

Fewer incidents mean firefighters don't get as much 'operational experience'

The fire authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is asking residents if they are prepared to pay up to a three per cent increase to the fire service’s proportion of council tax.

The rise would equate to an extra £2.01 a year for the ‘average’ Band D property and will enable the fire service to improve its training programme for firefighters, particularly probationers, which is particularly important as the number of incidents they attend has fallen.

Fire authority chairman Kevin Reynolds said: “Firefighters do not get the same operational experience as they used to. Therefore they are becoming more and more reliant on training to maintain the skills.”

The fire authority has made savings of about £6million since 2010 following year-on-year cuts to its funding from central government.

A two per cent increase in council tax – which would mean an additional £1.34 for a band D property – will safeguard the frontline and maintain current service levels. But an additional one per cent would pay for more effective training.

The service expects to recruit around 70 firefighters over five years to replace those retiring or leaving.

The fire authority survey can be filled in online.



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