What has Cambs Fire Authority (CFA) got to do with the County Council elections? The CFA is an appointed authority by Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. PCC appoints 4 members (3 Conservatives - 1 Labour) and CCC appoints 13 members (8 Conservatives, 4 Liberal Democrats and 1 Labour).
Out of 17 members the Conservatives hold 11 seats, Liberal Democrats 4 seats and Labour 2 seats. The Conservatives have a majority of 5 over the other two parties.
The 8.3% increase is therefore a Conservative increase.
The main reason given for this increase was:
The Director of Resources highlighted the importance of the increase in order to safeguard beyond 2014/15 and build some flexibility in the base for the long-term future.
Which means this has nothing to do with the Fire Authority preserving services but everything to do with just increasing Council Tax. Far easier when you are appointed rather than elected to this Authority.
The Chairman (Fred Brown - Conservative) informed the Authority that he had asked the Fire Minister (Brandon Lewis - Conservative - Great Yarmouth) whether this increase could be deferred to another point in time and had been advised that the Authority should take this one year opportunity to build its base.
Eric Pickles (Communities Secretary - Conservative) called on local authorities to freeze council tax whilst an underling is informing local authorities to up their council tax. The Conservatives said any increase over 2% needed to be endorsed by a referendum. Of course this has been watered down by the Conservatives with increases under £5 now not needing a referendum.
The referendum idea was a good idea. The only problem is the councils, and mainly Conservative run Councils, are avoiding this Conservative policy like the plague because they don't want to ask the people who pay just incase we all say NO!
The CFA has upped their portion by 8.3% with the backing of Government which also informs the people it wants the Local Authorities to freeze council tax. Reason 2 not to vote Conservative is an 8.3% increase by the Conservatives.