Beds, Herts & Bucks

Call for separate fire service tax

Emergency services should be funded by a separate tax, rather than council tax, according to Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes' chief fire officer.

Mark Jones said he thought people would be willing to pay more if they knew the money was going to be spent on the emergency services.

At present the police and fire services are funded through council tax, which also funds council services.

The Treasury said it did not want to split up taxation.

'Real bargain'

Mr Jones said having a separate emergency services tax would allow "true accountability to prevail, with citizens being allowed to see exactly where and how their personal contributions are directed towards the greater public safety".

He added: "Fire is a very small area of public spending - many citizens pay more per month for satellite television than they do per year for the services they get from their local fire and rescue service.

"I think the security they enjoy from our existence and the low comparative costs seem like a real bargain. I think the public would agree and, faced with a 'doom and gloom' funding scenario, feel that it is time to ask them."

He said he was keen to prevent the "uncontrolled" shrinking of expenditure on the fire service.

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