Consultation response pro-forma
Local Government Finance Settlement 2019-20: Technical
If you are responding to this consultation by email or in writing, please reply using this
questionnaire pro-forma, which should be read alongside the consultation document.
You should save the pro-forma on your own device, from which you can complete the
survey at your own pace, and submit when you are ready.
There are 5 questions in this survey. You do not have to answer every question should
you not wish to. The comments box will expand as you type into it should you need more
Should you wish to attach further evidence or supporting information, you may attach
and send this with the pro-forma.
Please email responses to:
Alternatively, written responses should be sent to:
Local Government Finance Settlement Team
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
2nd floor, Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
Your opinions are valuable to us. Thank you for taking the time to read the consultation
document and respond.
Your Details (Required details are marked with an asterisk (*))
Full Name*
Address 2
Email address*
Phone Number
Tony Hope
County Durham & Darlington Fire and Rescue Authority
Service Headquarters
Belmont Business Park
0191 3755558
Consultation response pro-forma
Are the views Expressed on this form an official response from a:
London Borough
Metropolitan District
Unitary Authority
Shire County
Shire District
Fire and Rescue Authority
Greater London Authority
Combined Authority
Parish or Town Council
Local Authority Association or Special Interest Group
Other Local Authority Grouping
Local Authority Officer
Local Authority Councillor
Member of Parliament
Other Representative Group
Business Organisation
Valuation Organisation
Voluntary Organisation
Member of the Public
Consultation response pro-forma
Question 1
Do you agree that the Government should confirm the final year of the 4-year offer as
set out in 2016-17?
No comment
Additional comments
The Authority welcomes the certainty provided by 4 year settlements however the financial
landscape has changed significantly since the introduction of the offer in 2016/17 and pressure
is building around public sector pay awards.
Recent events have highlighted the importance of having assets and equipment readily
available which are fit for purpose in order to deal with incidents and to ensure the safety of
firefighters. It is however becoming increasingly difficult for the Authority to invest in new
equipment and vehicles as the sector no longer receives any government funding for capital
expenditure. Previously this Authority received a capital grant of £1.3M per annum up to
2014/15 and we need to invest at least £1M in capital each year simply to fund the
replacement of vehicles and equipment. Provision now has to be made in the revenue budget
to meet the impact of borrowing and/or direct funding which places further pressure on the
Finally, should fire authorities be given further responsibilities in relation to fire safety following
the tragic events at Grenfell Tower then this will need to come with further additional funding
from central government to deal with this new burden.
Consultation response pro-forma
Question 2
Do you agree with the council tax referendum principles proposed by the
Government for 2019-20?
No comment
Additional comments
The Authority does not agree with the principles proposed for principal local authorities. The
current principles allow for shire district councils in two-tier areas to raise council tax by up to
3% or £5 and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC's) to raise council tax by up to £12. The
offer for shire districts to have the freedom for a £5 or 3% uplift is being made despite the fact
that the relevant precepts are significantly higher than the average fire precept.
The Police and Crime Act also places a statutory duty on fire and rescue authorities to
collaborate with police. Whilst this should lead to longer term savings, there will inevitably be
significant up-front costs. As the consultation stands, PCCs could cover these costs by
increasing council tax above the 3% limit, but this same freedom does not currently extend to
fire and rescue authorities, which seems inequitable.
We therefore ask the Government to consider allowing fire and rescue authorities the same
flexibility as has been given to PCC's in relation to the council tax referendum principles for
Consultation response pro-forma
Question 3
Do you agree with the Government’s preferred approach that Negative RSG is
eliminated in full via forgone business rates receipts in 2019-20?
No comment
Additional comments
Consultation response pro-forma
Question 4
If you disagree with the Government’s preferred approach to Negative RSG please
express you preference for an alternative option. If you believe there is an alternative
mechanism for dealing with Negative RSG not explored in the consultation document
please provide further detail.
No Comment
Please Specify
Consultation response pro-forma
Question 5
Do you have any comments on the impact of the proposals for the 2019-20
settlement outlined in this consultation document on persons who share a protected
characteristic? Please provide evidence to support your comments.
No comment
Additional comments