RESIDENTS will only have to pay an extra 5p a week for the fire service. in its new budget.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service last week agreed a budget of £73.9m for the financial year 2024/25. 

Those in Band D homes in Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and Dorset will now have to pay £86.95 for the annual fire precept from April 1 – the equivalent of 5p a week. 

Chief fire officer Ben Ansell said: “Balancing the budget for 2024/25 has been extremely difficult and the Service faces some significant financial challenges in the medium term.  

“We are a lean fire and rescue service with a strong track record of performance, efficiency savings and ensuring value for money.  

“However, we will need to look at a significant programme of work, based on our recent fire cover review and other data, to ensure we continue to serve the communities of Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, Dorset, Swindon and Wiltshire in the most efficient and effective way possible.” 

Cllr Rebecca Knox, chair of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “Members unanimously agreed that the 2.99 per cent increase was the only viable option in the face of the ongoing financial uncertainty. 

“We know that any increase is difficult for bill-payers, but our council tax level remains below the national average, and we believe strongly that our fire and rescue service provide excellent value for money.” 

Meanwhile, Dorset residents will have to pay an extra 25p a week (the equivalent of £13 extra a year) for policing.