Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Peterborough's Precious Fire & Rescue Service

Have you ever needed to call one of the emergency services because life was in danger?

I know I have.

Most recently, the reason for my call was to get help for an elderly neighbour who had fallen over in her garden, hitting her head as she fell. She was conscious, but unable to get back on her feet. I was alerted to her plight when I heard her shout for help, but I couldn't get to her. She was alone at home and couldn't get to her gate or her door to unlock it. Her mobile phone was in the house so she couldn't reach that to call for help either. The only way to reach her was by climbing a gate that was over six feet high. I'm only five foot six and every fit, tall person in our street was at work. In the event a police man arrived and vaulted the fence and we stayed with the lady until her family arrived and an ambulance crew came to assess her.

We often read in the press about the times the emergency services are misused and very often they are criticised by the public for attending the wrong things. However, it has only ever been my experience that when someone's life may be in danger the emergency services have been quick to respond and have done so with caring and patience. Police, ambulance crews and fire fighters are our community. They are not separate to us. They are us. Their work is amazing and I feel that they deserve to be properly resourced, not forced to worry about how to finance themselves.

And so it is with this in mind that I reacted immediately to a tweet from the Peterborough Telegraph.

The council tax rise that is proposed is £1.17 per household per year for a band D property.

Most of us would surely agree that any increase in council tax is difficult to accommodate. While £1.17 doesn't sound like very much, when you add it to the 5% increase that Peterborough City Council is also proposing (the increased burden of adult social care is cited as the chief reason), it's plain to see the bill is creeping up. That is going to be hard for many people.

However, our fire and rescue service, along with our police service and our ambulance service, is one of the public services that I will always support, without hesitation.

Over the past six years, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority has made savings in excess of £5m following cuts to the grant it receives from the Government. It needs to find another £1.4m this coming year. Raising council tax by 1.9% will help efforts to protect the front line, it says.

But what do you think?

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority would like your views. Is the increase justified? Can you afford it? Let them know by filling in this very quick, two-question survey:


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