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Royal Berkshire Fire Authority approves budget for enhanced fire services in 2024/25

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Royal Berkshire Fire Authority has unanimously agreed on the 2024/25 Budget and Band D Council Tax precept for the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The agreed council tax precept increase of 2.99% equates to an additional £2.36 per year for Band D households.

This adjustment aims to support the continued development and delivery of the service’s response to the public, alongside capital investments in fire stations, vehicles, and ICT equipment.

These investments are intended to empower the teams to provide exemplary public service across Berkshire.

Financial strategy and public service commitment

The budget for the forthcoming year focuses on enhancing the response service to the public and includes capital investments in essential areas.

Councillor Jeff Brooks, Chair of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, highlighted the objectives and considerations of the new budget: “This is a budget that delivers on the progress made across the estate so far and identifies key areas where Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service can develop and improve its response to the public,” he said.

Councillor Brooks also acknowledged the financial pressures faced by residents, emphasizing the authority’s commitment to delivering excellent services and value for money.

Enhancements in fire services crewing and capital investments

Part of the budget allocation aims to strengthen the crewing model, which is expected to increase fire engine availability.

“At times throughout 2024/25, we will be able to have up to ten firefighters more than our normal establishment level,” explained Councillor Brooks.

The funding will also support the continuation of an ambitious capital investment programme in fire stations, vehicles, and ICT equipment.

Efforts to improve facility equality, attract a diverse team, and enhance environmental sustainability are included in these plans.

Initiatives such as the introduction of solar panels, electrical charging points, and LED lighting across the estate are among the prioritized investments.

Investment in efficiency and technology

The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service also plans to deliver a significant programme of efficiencies and initiate invest-to-save projects.

Productivity gains from new technology usage are another focus area, with continued lobbying to the Government for adequate central funding to support ongoing service development and improvements.

“We will continue to lobby Government for the appropriate level of central funding to continually develop and improve our services to the public,” stated Councillor Brooks, underlining the strategic approach towards securing resources and enhancing service delivery.

IFSJ Comment

The unanimous approval of the 2024/25 Budget and Band D Council Tax precept by the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority marks a strategic step towards enhancing fire and rescue services in Berkshire.

Through careful financial planning and targeted investments, the service aims to improve its response capabilities, invest in critical infrastructure, and adopt sustainable practices.

The commitment to efficiency, diversity, and environmental sustainability reflects a modern approach to public service delivery.

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