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Fire Services

Volume 505: debated on Friday 5 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance his Department has issued to local authorities on whether reductions in the number of (a) fire stations, (b) fire appliances and (c) fire-fighters may be classified as efficiency savings for the purposes of (i) annual efficiency statements to his Department and (ii) calculating the value of efficiency savings on council tax bills. (315038)

The Department has issued efficiency guidance to fire and rescue authorities and I have arranged for a copy to be placed in the Library of the House. In order to be considered an efficiency gain, all savings must be sustainable and subject to a quality cross-check measure to ensure services to communities are as, or more, effective following implementation of the efficiency measure. A sustainable efficiency gain is “an efficiency gain which exists for the current year and at least two subsequent financial years afterwards”. Efficiency savings are reported by fire and rescue authorities in their annual efficiency statements. Since 2008-09 local authority and fire and rescue authority efficiency savings have been published on the billing authority’s council tax demand.