Shropshire's fire authority votes for a council tax rise

Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority has voted for a rise in council tax which it said will protect front line fire services.

Council tax will go up by five pence a week for "the majority of households", said the authority.

It warned that without the increase five fire stations could close.

Chair Stuart West said: "It's a minute amount of money really but it means a lot to us because it does safeguard the future of the fire authority."

Following a public consultation in January, the authority said that 93% of people questioned were willing to pay an extra 4p or more per week, 76% said they would pay an extra 5p or more while 68% said that they would pay 6p or more.

It did accept that most of those interviewed were living in Band A and B properties and that any increases for those households would be less than for Band D properties.

Mr West said: "We are very aware that hard-working families are feeling the pinch at the moment and that is why we consulted widely on the possibility of increasing our portion of the council tax."

The authority said it faced cutting £4m from its £21m annual budget over the next four years.

The Fire and Rescue Service in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin currently costs the majority of taxpaying households £1.20 per week. Council tax was frozen last year.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has 23 fire stations and employs more than 500 firefighters, control room staff and technical and specialist support staff.

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