Council Tax explained - Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority

Published: 13 March 2024

Precept Information 2024 to 2025

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority has again been judged as ‘Outstanding’ in its use of resources by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in 2023.

Once again, the Authority has set its budget in response to all foreseeable risk from fire and other emergencies, particularly the Service’s ability to respond to large, complex and/or protracted incidents. The Authority’s budget will also enhance its protection (fire safety) services in the light of the Grenfell Tower fire, and towards those most at risk to fire through its ‘Outstanding’ prevention activity.

The Authority has delivered significant re-investment into the frontline since 2018, secured through prudent financial management and by staffing its fire stations to meet demand. In its Community Risk Management Plan for 2024 to 27, the Authority is proposing to invest in the Service again in 2024 to 2025 which will result in further increases in fire engine availability from 32 to 34, along with technical developments that improve response times, increase investment in specialist clothing, training and equipment and enhancements in areas directly related to firefighter safety. The Authority’s capital programme means we can invest £36million in the Service’s infrastructure by 2028 to 2029, and this will ensure firefighters have the best equipment to respond to a variety of risks to keep Merseyside communities safe.

The ongoing investment the Authority has made in the Service and the benefits this brings to Merseyside communities, were reflected in the last HMICFRS inspection report. The Service was congratulated on its performance in keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks. HMICFRS graded the Service as ‘outstanding’ in three areas, ‘good’ in five areas and ‘adequate’ in three areas. Meaning it is currently highest performing fire & rescue service in England.

How the money is spent

Approximately 72.8% of the Authority’s 2024 to 2025 budget remains committed to delivering emergency response; plus services that help us prevent and prepare for emergencies and carry out our legal responsibilities relating to fire safety. We also know through consultation, that the public support our priorities. The costs associated with funding capital investment account for 12.3% of the Authority’s budget and this relates to investment in frontline activities such as fire stations, fire engines and operational equipment. The remaining 14.9% is spent on support services, of which a significant proportion relates to essential frontline service support such as insurance of vehicles and premises, the vehicle maintenance workshop, and ICT costs.

How the Merseyside Fire and  Rescue Authority is funded

The Authority’s 2024 to 2025 Gross Budget is £87.9m. This is funded from:

  • Government funding settlement, 43.6%
  • Council Tax, 40.8%
  • Fees, charges and reserves, 15.6%

Council Tax charge

The table below shows how Council Tax for a Band D property for 2023 to 2024 has been set:

Gross Budget £87,922,000
Income and Specific Grants -£14,163,000
Net Movement on Reserves £432,000
Net Budget Requirement £74,191,000
Government Settlement Funding (less Local Business Rate Adjustment) -£38,326,000
Council Tax / Business Rates Collection Fund Surplus -£294,000
Council Tax Requirement £35,571,000
Tax Base £389,826,080
Band D Equivalent £91.25

The Fire and Rescue Authorty set a Council Tax requirement of £35.571million for 2024 to 2025 and a Council Tax for a Band D property of £91.25, a 2.98% increase on the 2023 to 2024 figure of £88.61. By increasing the Council Tax charge, it allows the Authority to maintain the investment in frontline services and fund the further investment planned in 2024 to 2025. Most Council Tax payers in Merseyside will pay Band A Council Tax of £60.83 about 17p per day towards their Fire and Rescue Service.

The Authority has issued a precept on the five Merseyside District Councils of £35.371million. Wirral’s contribution to expenditure financed by precept is £8.759million, which represents 24.63% of the total precept.

Mike Rea, B.A. (Hons), ACMA
Director of Finance and Procurement
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority

Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters,
Bridle Road, Bootle
Liverpool, L30 4YD