Fair funding for Fire and Rescue Services

West Sussex’s fire service receives far less funding than East Sussex and Surrey from Government.

Liberal Democrats on West Sussex County Council are calling on the government for more money to fund its fire and rescue service (WSFRS). Liberal Democrats want to know why it receives half as much funding as neighbouring East Sussex and far less than both Surrey and Hampshire.

The West Sussex slice of the local government settlement funding assessment for fire authorities has dropped from £9.9m in 2016/17 to £5.4m in 2019/20.

Dr James Walsh (Lib Dem, Littlehampton East), pointed out that the county’s settlement from the government worked out at around £6 per head, compared to £9 per head for Surrey and around £12 per head for Hampshire and East Sussex.

He said: “That by any stretch of the imagination cannot be fair or equitable. It’s commendable that we’re actually able to deliver any sort of reasonable fire service with that money.”

Calling on Ms Kennard (cabinet member for safer, stronger communities) to ‘take up the cudgel and join the battle for fair funding from the minister’, Dr Walsh added: “What we’re talking about here, if we do not get fair funding from the minister, is danger to life.

“Cuts mean deaths in this particular fire and rescue service. And we need to recognise that and realise our responsibility for it.”