Revenue Budget - Deven & Somerset

Dear Brothers and Sister’s

 

 

Revenue Budget

 

 

Following on from my last all members Circular JL/02 reserves follow up, it has been brought to my attention that in that circular I misinterpreted the CSR reserve as Community Safety Reserve. CSR actually stands for Comprehensive Spending Review strategy reserve, and was a pot of money set aside to offset the effects of the last round of devastating cuts. As it happened it was not used, as the cuts were so severe that the service realised the savings faster than anticipated.

 

 

I am not really that concerned about the title of these earmarked reserves, what concerns me more is the fact that the service are sitting on millions and millions of pounds, year in year out and them proposing to destroy our front-line fire cover. Call it whatever you like but it is clear that these reserves could and should be spent on the front-line, simple as that.

 

 

Members will also be aware that we have been fighting austerity and cuts in central government funding for nearly ten years and the impact this has had on our revenue budget. We have campaigned and lobbied against austerity, but we have to admit that we have not been successful. This has been the backdrop and reasoning our senior management have used for the cuts that we have had to endure to our front-line service. 

 

The revenue budget is basically made up of the council tax precept, government grant and business rates but can include other income as well. 

 

 

The following table shows our revenue budget total and how much it has been cut since 2012/13.

 

 

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

£ 80.5 million

£ 78.4 million

£ 77.7 million

£ 74.7 million

£ 73.9 million

£72.6 million

£ 73.9 million

 

 

This shows that revenue budget has been cut by £6.6 million since 2012, which is unacceptable.

 

The following table shows the under spends we have had in our revenue budget over the same period of time.

 

 

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

£ 1.7 million

£ 2.6 million

£ 2.1 million

£ 1.9 million

£ 2.2 million

£ 0.3 million

£ 1.9 million

 

 

This shows the under spend in the Revenue Budget have totalled £ 12.7 millionsince 2012, is this acceptable?

You will hear senior managers telling you that this is necessary to fund capital spending such as new equipment and fire stations. This is a reasonable argument, except for the fact that this under spend is after millions of pounds have already been put aside for this purpose as can be seen in the table below.

 

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

£3.1 m

£1.7 m

£5.5 m

£2.2 m

£4.7 m

£3.5 m

£1.6 m

 

This shows that over the same period the service put over £ 22 million into reserves for capital projects.

 

If the£12.7 millionunder-spend had been kept in the revenue budget;

 

  • Could we have kept Ilfracombe, Plymstock or Plympton station wholetime duty system

 

  • Could we have kept primary crewing of Aerial Appliances

 

  • Could we have improved terms and conditions for RDS firefighters

 

Unfortunately, we will never know but what can we do now;

 

  • Continue our campaign to fight these dangerous proposals 

 

  • Inform the Public of where their council tax is being spent

 

  • Get our Fire and Rescue Service to invest in the front line 

 

 

Yours in unity,

 

James Leslie

 

Brigade Secretary 

 

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