Merseyside Fire Authority to raise council tax precept

Merseyside Fire Authority is to raise its council tax precept by 4% to cope with government budget cuts.

The authority has already identified £9m of cuts and is set to lose 173 members of staff.

Tony Newman, who chairs the authority, said it had also taken five fire appliances out of regular use to help cut costs.

Most taxpayers in Band A will see an annual increase of £1.73 for their fire and rescue service (3p a week).

The rise was agreed at a meeting on Thursday.

Mr Newman said: "It's extremely disappointing in the current difficult circumstances when everyone is finding it hard to make ends meet that we have had to ask for any increase at all.

"However, I hope local people will recognize that most of our money comes from government and when they cut it to such an extent we had no other option.

"Unfortunately, we are also facing further, possibly larger government cuts in the future so we are currently lobbying hard to try and avoid this happening."

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