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Islanders Expected To Face Tax Hike For Fire And Rescue Service

Isle of Wight residents could have to pay three per cent more from April, for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, as warnings are issued about its finances in the future.

It means the average Band D council taxpayer could have to pay a precept of £82.84 for the year — a £2.41 rise.

That is on top of additional taxes paid to the Isle of Wight Council, as well as Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary and town, parish and community councils.

The increase is the recommended option going before the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Authority (HIWFRA), at a meeting next week (Tuesday, February 27).

A report says the rise is essential to ensure the financial sustainability of the HIWFRA, raising an additional £2.1 million across the region.

If the increase is approved, Islanders would contribute more than £4.5 million to the service’s budget.

Officers said it was disappointing no additional government money was awarded to support the fire authority, after Westminster gave the Isle of Wight Council an additional £3 million in recognition of the additional costs of providing services on the Island.

The HIWFRA has been able to balance its budget for 2024/25 but it is warning of a £4 million gap for 2025/26 and says plans to address the deficit “must be developed and implemented.”

It is citing a range of financial pressures for the expected future budget gap, including an end to one-off funding and below-inflation rises in other funding streams.

The report says any reduction to the service would not be an ‘efficiency’, adding “it may be necessary to consider service reductions in the future, but these would be subject to a separate plan and appropriate consultation.”

Instead, it is looking to increase the efficiency of its workforce “to optimise delivery of its frontline and support services.”

Further proposals would be drawn up in the next financial year and actioned from April 2025.

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