Residents across Greater Manchester including Trafford will be paying more Council Tax to support the county’s fire and rescue service – but only 78p A YEAR for most people.
Members of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority (GMFRA) agreed a 1.99 per cent rise in their part of the Council Tax at a meeting this morning (Thursday, February 16).
But the increase, which will be listed as the fire and rescue service ‘precept’ on household bills, equates to just 78p extra for the whole year on a Band A property and £1.17 extra for the year on a Band D home.
The Service is the second largest fire and rescue service in England, looking after around 2.7 million people across the 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester.
It provides emergency response through 41 fire stations and an operational crew of around 1,300 uniformed officers working a 24/7 shift pattern on four watches.
In 2016, according to Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service:
• Raced to almost 11,000 fires – arriving in minutes of receiving a 999 call
• Attended more than 1,000 car crashes – carrying out rescues and administering trauma care at the scene in support of paramedics
• Rescued more than 1,500 people from a range of incidents including fires, car crashes and flooding
• Helped more than 3,000 people suffering cardiac arrest to support paramedics in North West Ambulance Service
In addition, the Service operates a number of other functions to the benefit of its communities including:
• Fire prevention activity such as providing free Home Safety Checks and fitting smoke alarms to keep people safe
• Safe and Well Visits, including expert fire safety but also crime prevention and public health checks in conjunction with local authorities and Public Health England
• Protection officers regulating thousands of buildings and premises across Greater Manchester to ensure local people are as safe as possible in every area of their lives
• A team of volunteers who help victims of fire get back on their feet after a blaze
• Community initiatives such as Prince’s Trust courses, Fire Cadets, anti-arson projects
and caged soccer units, using the fire service brand to influence good citizenship
• School visits
Councillor David Acton, Chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “No one at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority made the decision to increase our part of Council Tax bills lightly but local people should be reassured these are miniscule amounts of money equating to less than £1 for the whole year for most people. That’s less than 2p a week extra.
“But collectively, the extra money means we can keep more firefighters on the front line, more fire engines ‘on the run’ and keep all our fire stations open providing vital emergency response for local people when they need us.
“The increase is tiny for local people but will make a huge difference to the service we can provide to local people.”
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service remains one of the lowest-cost and highest performing emergency services in the UK. It is the only Fire and Rescue Service in the country to have been awarded a five-star ‘excellent’ rating from the British Quality Foundation.
At the same time the Authority charges most people in Greater Manchester less than £1 a week for its services – a Band A property just £39.96 a year and for a Band D property £59.95.
GMFRA is currently the second lowest charging fire and rescue service in England, charging just £59.95 per Band D household each year compared to Durham Fire and Rescue Service which charges more than £95.
The majority of people in Greater Manchester live in homes categorised as Band A and will pay less than £1 per week for their fire and rescue service or £39.92.
Chairman Councillor David Acton said: “Most households pay about £40 a year for our services. We are among the lowest-cost emergency services in the country and yet our performance indicators also show we are among the best. I’m proud we’re able to deliver this and keep our share of the Council Tax low.”