We receive funding from council tax and business rates, known as precepts. The current council tax charge from the fire and rescue service is £91.79 a year for a Band D household.
The Authority anticipates that by 2026/27, a saving of £6.1m will be needed, based on a year-on-year increase of 1.99% to council tax over this period.
Every 1% increase to council tax precept amounts to around half a million pounds to the Service per year.
The Authority is required to deliver a balanced budget, meaning outgoings do not exceed income. The Authority will always seek to use the resources available in the best way to minimise the impact of risk to communities in the area. Further information about our spend and income.
Council tax precept for your fire and rescue service
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority, which covers fire and rescue services in the two counties, Plymouth and Torbay has agreed the amount of council tax precept for the 2023-24 financial year. The decision was to increase the fire and rescue precept by £5 for a band D property (pro-rata for other bands). This means that the precept will increase from £91.79 to £96.79 per year for a band D property.
Before making this decision, we asked people across Devon and Somerset for their views on the part of the council tax that covers fire and rescue. Most people who responded agreed that it would be reasonable for the Authority to consider an increase, with the most popular option being a £5 increase, followed by 1.99 per cent increase.
Authority Chair Sara Randall Johnson said:
“After a detailed discussion, we reached the decision to raise the precept to support the delivery of fire and rescue services to communities across Devon and Somerset. I understand that things are especially tough for households and businesses at the moment. The fire service isn’t immune from these pressures either and is seeing operating costs rise and money from the government go down. There are also some unknowns, including energy costs and the annual pay award. This decision to increase the precept helps us balance the needs of our communities with the money we have available.
We want to make sure that every penny counts towards providing our communities with the best service possible.”
About our Service
We have 83 fire stations with almost 2,000 staff, helping to keep the 1.8 million people who live in the two counties safe. We protect 820,000 households, 74,000 businesses, and a further 1.1 million visitors a year.
On average, we attend 15,700 incidents every year and provide home safety advice to more than 18,000 households. These include flooding, road traffic collisions, fires, and other emergencies.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority is the publicly accountable body that manages the fire and rescue service on behalf of the communities of Devon and Somerset. The Authority is committed to the Service's ambitious plans to end preventable fire and rescue emergencies across the two counties. More details about our plans to modernise and improve our Service can be found in our Community Risk Management Plan.
Council tax survey 2023/24
We heard peoples’ views through telephone surveys with 400 residents and 400 businesses, as well as hosting an online survey which received more than 500 responses.
The online survey told us that most respondents, 63 per cent, agreed that we provide good value for money, with 62 per cent agreeing it would be reasonable to consider an increase to the precept.
When asked what amount would be reasonable to consider:
- 36% said £5,
- 25% said 1.99%,
- 18% said 1%, and
- 21% said no increase should be considered.
When surveyed on the phone, the percentage of respondents who agreed it would be reasonable to consider an increase to the precept rose to 67 per cent of businesses and 78 per cent of residents. The percentage of residents who agreed £5 would be a reasonable increase rose to 47 per cent in the telephone surveys, with 38 per cent of businesses also selecting £5.
23 per cent of businesses and residents considered a 1.99 per cent increase reasonable, whilst 13 per cent of businesses and 9 per cent of residents answered no increase.
Community Risk Management Plan
Our Community Risk Management Plan (2022-2027) outlines the risks in our communities and how we plan to manage those risks to make people safer. When developing the pan, we looked at our data and listened to what our staff, partners and those who live and work in Devon and Somerset told us. All of the feedback was considered and, where appropriate, changes included in the final plan.
To find out more, visit our Community Risk Management Plan page.