North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority decision on future financial strategyPosted
Members of North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority have been considering and debating the future financial prospects of the fire and rescue service in recent months, looking at a wide range of options to be able to continue providing affordable services and to find a potential shortfall in the budget of £900,000.
It became clear that freezing the Fire and Rescue Authority’s budget was no longer possible because of general pay and price inflation as well as increasing pension costs due to changes announced in the UK budget.
As a result, the Authority has been concentrating on exploring a variety of possible future money saving options, including the closure of some rural stations and a reduction in the number of full time appliances at Wrexham fire station.
In the latter part of last year, after considering all the information and options in great detail, Authority members came to the conclusion that the preferred option to explore further and consult upon was the potential removal of a full time pump from Wrexham by the end of this decade.
The Authority then carried out a public consultation on a four year medium term financial strategy based on a continued budget freeze for the remainder of this financial year, an increase in contributions next year, and a freeze in budget for the following two years combined with a reduction in services. This covers the period up to and including 2019/20.
Councillor Meirick Davies, Chair of the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority said: “At the Authority meeting today (20th March), we discussed the financial prospects of the fire and rescue service and took into account all the feedback received during the consultation and we thank everybody for their response.
“We also took into account the wide ranging concerns raised by stakeholders and considered these carefully before reaching our conclusion.
“The decision to explore reducing services in the future was not taken lightly by members, but rather on the basis of being the least damaging option, and today it was concluded that the Authority will go ahead and pursue this medium term financial strategy.
“A decision as to whether the second appliance at Wrexham should be removed was not considered at this meeting. However members voted to withdraw this as the preferred option for the time being, and it will be for members of the new Fire and Rescue Authority, which will be formed following the local elections in May, to again consider all of the options available and then determine the exact size and means of the reduction in services.”