Budget for 2024/5 set by West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority

Residents will pay just four pence a week extra for West Midlands Fire Service from April

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Published on 26 February 2024

Residents will pay just four pence a week extra in tax for West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) from April.

At a meeting of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority (WMFRA) it was approved that the average Band D property will pay around £1.45 a week, a 2.99% rise for services to prevent, protect from and respond to fires and other emergencies.

The amount – known as a ‘precept’ – will be added to the council tax bills of the seven Local Authorities within the West Midlands conurbation.

Like most public sector organisations across the country, WMFS is facing increasing pressures through the effects of inflation, uncertainty over future funding and the continuing impact of the cost of living.

There is a need for future savings to address the gap in the budget, while ensuring that vital services provided to the community remain a priority to make the West Midlands safer, stronger and healthier.

The annual amount of council tax precept for a Band D property is £75.20 for 2024-25. The report to WMFRA can be found here.

The budget will enable the service to deliver its strategy, based on its Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP). Both are due to take effect on 1 April 2024. Their proposed content was also approved by WMFRA members at their February meeting.

The CRMP takes account of all foreseeable risks which our communities might face – from house fires and road traffic collisions, through to flooding and terrorism. It also factors in the responses of thousands of people to a public consultation carried out by WMFS in 2023.

The information shapes our strategy and Service Delivery Model – how we use the resources we have to reduce risk and vulnerability in our communities through our prevention, protection and emergency response work.

A further report to WMFRA members explained the introduction of a new-look strategy document for West Midlands Fire Service: ‘WMFS Strategy 2024-2027: Our plan to make the West Midlands safer, stronger and healthier’.

WMFRA members will now receive reports on a new range of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), setting out progress against a number of strategic goals.

These will be complemented by a new online ‘dashboard’, which the public will be able to use to monitor progress against the KPIs. An Annual Report will also be published.

We’ll be releasing more details about the CRMP and strategy at the start of the new financial year, 2024-25.

Jo Bowcock, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said: “Following the consultation we completed last year and the many thousands of responses we received, we feel it’s right that the communities and businesses of the West Midlands can see the progress they have asked for. I am confident that the services WMFS provide will not only be maintained but continually elevated.”

Councillor Greg Brackenridge chairs a meeting of the fire authority

Councillor Greg Brackenridge

Chair, West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority

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Despite our reduction in core funding over many years, I'm confident that West Midlands firefighters and support staff will continue to deliver outstanding services.
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Councillor Greg Brackenridge, Chair of WMFRA, said: “I would like to recognise the efforts of all personnel at WMFS for their hard work and dedication. Our committed and highly professional frontline and support staff provide an outstanding service to the communities of the West Midlands and will strive for continual improvements in all areas.

“WMFS will still be one of the lowest precept fire services in the country after the 2024 increase. Despite the reduction in core funding over many years, I am confident that West Midlands firefighters and support staff will continue to deliver the outstanding services the community currently receives.”