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North Yorkshire Fire Authority freeze amount we pay


6:29am 9th February 2012

York’s Liberal Democrat Member on the North Yorkshire Fire Authority has welcomed the decision made by the authority to freeze the precept (the amount residents pay for fire services) for 2012/13 using a £600,000 grant from the coalition government.

Councillor Keith Aspden said this decision showed that the suggestions made by Labour-run City of York Council that it wouldn’t be financially viable to freeze local taxes for York’s residents to do so were politically motivated.

The fire precept plans were voted through the Fire Authority unanimously today, by councillors from all parties, including Labour.

Labour-run York, in outlining their budget plans last week, said they weren’t able to take the grant and instead would pass additional costs on to residents. They argued this was because the government couldn’t guarantee the funding for the grant would continue next year.

North Yorkshire Fire Authority has avoided this issue by planning to save some of the grant this year in case the money isn’t available next year, together with continuing to save money over a number of years on back office functions.

Councillor Aspden said:

“The decision by North Yorkshire Fire Authority shows that additional costs for services do not need to be passed on to residents when the Government is offering funding. The decision to sensibly keep money back in reserve alongside back office savings will protect against the loss of the grant next year makes sense.”

Councillor Aspden said that this future planning showed how the grant could be used to avoid passing on costs to residents without affecting the future financial stability of the authority, something that York’s Labour Cabinet are unwilling to accept.

He said:

“It just goes to show that Labour in York are playing party politics when they say it would be financially reckless of them to take the grant. They could have elected to make contingency plans to avoid a tax increase in these tough times, but instead chose to pass this on to local residents.”

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