In 2013/14 there were 322 deaths due to fires in Great Britain that is 20 fewer than last year. In 2009/10 it was 416. While fewer lives are lost the budget for the Fire Brigade has been reduced. The service has become more efficient.  This achievement should be considered against the background of a population that is growing and ageing. That makes it all the more impressive.

Particular congratulations to the Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority whose members have decided to reduce their Council tax precept by one per cent.

Cllr Adrian Busby, the Authority’s Chairman, said:

“This Fire Authority is dedicated to helping the public by reducing living costs and making sensible savings, while ensuring high quality services to protect them are maintained.

“It is always important to remember that this is not our money. We are the guardians of the public purse and we take our responsibilities very seriously.”  

Costs have been cut while performance has improved. Innovation has included joint working with the ambulance service.

This doesn’t mean that more couldn’t be done. For instance it seems to me to be quite extraordinary that there is a right to strike in this essential service. It is long overdue for that right to be abolished.