Barry and Vale Residents to See Greatest Rise in Fire and Rescue Contributions From South Wales Authorities

  Posted: 05.02.20 at 13:13 by Anthony Lewis - Local Democracy Reporter

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The amount that people in Barry, and more widely across the Vale of Glamorgan, could pay to their fire and rescue service is set to go up by more than 4% next year.

A report to go before South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority members suggests increasing the contribution from the 10 council areas by 4.25% so that the total budget is just under £75m for 2020-21.

The increase is smaller than the 4.5% rise which the authority put out to consultation and so the exact budget for next year would be £74,879,797 if approved by fire authority members on Monday, February 10.

Vale of Glamorgan would pay £6.38m, an increase of £333,013 or 5.51%. This is the most significant rise across all the South Wales authorities.

The 10 council areas that make up the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service area saw their funding from Welsh Government increase by an average of 4.4% in the latest provisional settlement.

Here’s how much each area would contribute compared to last year if the proposals go ahead:

Vale of Glamorgan would pay £6.38m, an increase of £333,013 or 5.51%
Bridgend would pay £7.05m, an increase of £308,626 or 4.57%
Rhondda Cynon Taf would pay £11.73m, an increase of £478,256 or 4.25%
Merthyr Tydfil would pay £2.92m, an increase of £134,169 or 4.81%
Caerphilly would pay £8.87m, an increase of £334,030 or 3.91%
Blaenau Gwent would pay £3.4m, an increase of £138,748 or 4.25%
Torfaen would pay £4.53m, an increase of £196,678 or 4.54%
Monmouthshire would pay £4.58m, an increase of £201,220 or 4.59%
Newport would pay £7.4m, an increase of £379,940 or 5.41%
Cardiff would pay £17.98m, an increase of £547,973 or 3.14%

And here are the main proposed changes to the fire authority budget for next year which would increase it by £3m or 4.3%:

The pay inflation budget would increase by £1m or 1.5%
The fire pensions budget would go up by £900,000 or 1.2%
The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) pensions budget would decrease by £400,000 or 0.5%
The premises budget for things like rates, energy and repairs would rise by £800,000 or 1.1%
The equipment and supplies budget would increase by £200,000 or 0.3%
The fleet budget would go up by £100,000 or 0.1%
The contracted services budget would rise by £100,000 or 0.1%
The capital financing charges budget would go up by £300,000 or 0.5%
The report says that planning for fire services in Wales is compromised by the ongoing Welsh Government review of governance and funding.

Until this review has concluded, the report says the number and structure of fire authorities and how they’re funded remains uncertain and this budget is assuming no change is made.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority has kept its cash budget at the same level during austerity which represents budget cuts of about £12m (17%) in real terms.

The Welsh Government provided a £2.8m grant to cover the costs of changes to fire service pension schemes but the fire authority report says this is a reduction on the already insufficient level of grant provided this year and that the authority already has an overspend related to these costs in 2019-20.

The fire authority has included additional funds for insurance costs which are likely to rise above the level of inflation due to increasing premiums in the industry.

It has also set aside funding for the upgrade and replacement of software in fleet management and has completed a review of the capital financing charges budget where it has found more savings.

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