Cambridgeshire residents will not be paying any more council tax to the county’s fire authority, which can afford to freeze its share of the precept after making savings.
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) has made savings of £4.2 million, therefore Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority (CPFA) can afford to freeze its portion of council tax and instead accept an additional grant of £183,000 from the Government.
The budget issued to CPFA in December was in line with what was expected and therefore the service has already implemented changes to make these savings.
As a result, no further cuts will need to be made at this time.
CPFA chairman Sir Peter Brown said: “The service took early action on budget savings by developing a well thought-out service redesign programme to find £4.2 million which was approved by CPFA.
“These savings have already been realised and I am pleased that we are in a position to freeze our part of the council tax precept for the next financial year.”
A new combined fire control with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, changing the shift system for firefighters and making efficiencies in support staff structures and services were among the savings made as part of the service redesign programme.
Chief fire officer Graham Stagg said: “We have made some of the savings for this comprehensive spending review period early, so not only can we freeze our portion of the council tax but we are able to reinvest some of the money back into the service in the short term to improve our frontline appliances and equipment.
“That’s not us out of the water though – we are expecting further significant budget cuts to come out of the next comprehensive spending review from 2015 onwards, and we are already planning where we might be able to make further savings.
“As much as we have been able to protect the frontline from the budget cuts made over the last couple of years, we cannot guarantee that.”
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (January 16) Echo.