Milton Keynes Lib Dems

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Tory Run Fire Authority in Financial Crisis

by Douglas McCall on 27 January, 2020

Cllr Douglas McCall is a member of the Bucks & MK Fire Authority and leader of the Lib Dems on MK Council.

Bucks & MK Fire Authority ‘requires improvement’ in Effectiveness and also in Efficiency says HM Inspectorate.

The report says “Overall we would like to see improvements in the year ahead, but without increased funding, it is difficult to see where progress can be made.”

Elsewhere in the report the Conservative controlled Fire Authority was criticised for past financial management which has resulted in the Authority not having enough money to run a sustainable budget. It noted “The Council Tax Precept (£64.57 per annum for a band D property) was frozen for several years and decreased by 1% in 2015/16”.

The Liberal Democrat Group Leader on Milton Keynes Council, Cllr Douglas McCall, who is also a member of the combined Fire Authority, said “The Fire Authority seems to have taken a leaf out of the Northamptonshire County Council book of Financial Management*. They have been driven by an ideological dogma of low taxation, even reducing the Council Tax against the Chief Fire Officer’s advice, and now the Authority doesn’t have enough money to provide the fire service for residents in a sustainable way. Their only solution seems to be to go to Central Government with a begging bowl for more money, but when they have asked before they have been turned down as the Government point out they had the power to raise the money themselves through the precept and failed to do so!”

He continued “The Chief Fire Officer and other firefighters have done an excellent job with the limited funds available, but they have been let down by the political masters. The Fire Chief has made it very clear that if the Authority doesn’t get more money then the closure of fire stations is on the cards.”

* Northamptonshire County Council (run by the Tories for decades) effectively went bankrupt and is in ‘Special Measures’ as it didn’t have enough money to pay its bills as it didn’t raise enough Council Tax.

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