Fire and rescue services set for share of additional COVID-19 government funding

Fire and rescue services across England are set to receive a share of the additional £1.6bn government funding to support their ongoing response to COVID-19.

This shows how the response of fire and rescue services is being recognised nationally by government.

The fire share equates to 3 percent of the £1.6bn funding announced on 18 April. This follows the first tranche of funding announced on 19 March, which also stood at 1.6bn. £28.5m has been allocated directly to stand alone fire authorities, with a further £6m central fund available to support services, which are providing assistance to ambulance services and coroners, in terms of mortuary support.

The remainder of funding for fire and rescue services has been included in the allocation provided to county councils and unitary councils which have responsibility for fire and rescue services. 

The latest allocation for fire is four times more than services received in the first tranche. This is a result of the vital work of the National Fire Chiefs Council, ensuring the Government is aware of the wide range of work fire and rescue services have undertaken to support the country in response to the pandemic.

Roy Wilsher, NFCC Chair, said, “I am delighted to see fire and rescue services receiving this additional funding to assist with their tireless response to COVID-19. This is testament to everyone’s hard work and services stepping up to keep communities safe during the current pandemic.

“NFCC has been working with government to ensure fire and rescue services received a fair share of the funding, to reduce pressure on already stretched resources. This will go some way to help reduce that burden as we move into the next phase of the response.

“However, I would have liked to have seen the funding for fire services ring-fenced for those which sit under county councils and unitary councils. It is imperative that these services receive a fair share of the allocation.”

Fire and rescue services have taken on a number of additional activities showing they are ready, willing and able to support the response to COVID-19. An overview of these activities are featured in our April issue and include: the movement of bodies; driving ambulances; assisting vulnerable people; transporting patients to and from Nightingale Hospitals; face shield assembly and packing; assisting with antigen testing; ambulance transport; driver training and instruction; assisting with face fit, and delivery of PPE and medicines.

The announcement of the allocations was made by Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP on 29 April. It means councils across England will receive around £3.2bn to deal with the immediate impacts of Coronavirus.

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, this will assist councils in continuing to deliver frontline services, supporting those who need it most, as well as meeting new pressures.

The funding is based on population and the latest assessments of challenges they are facing. Full allocations can be viewed here