21 July 2022

As we’re all acutely aware, the basic rate of inflation in the UK has been rising markedly for some time. This is only part of the story, of course, as some prices have risen by far greater than the Consumer Price Index the cost of vehicle fuel and energy being two clear examples.

Businesses have also been affected by extraordinary increases in the raw materials and goods on which they rely to produce their saleable output. Electronics manufacturers raised their prices by an average of 14.5% in 2021 with further rises of 7-8% expected this year and some as high as 50%. Standard thermoplastics prices in 2021 rose by 70%, steel prices have risen 60% and reached a record high after substantive increases throughout the last decade with the price of aluminium also having risen by over 60% relative to the previous year. Shipping costs also rose four-fold from mid-2020 to the end of 2021. 

This represents a serious problem for suppliers to our Fire and Rescue Services who wish to remain competitive but need to maintain the financial viability of their businesses.

The FIA has written via its FRES Council to the National Fire Chiefs Council, asking that Fire and Rescue Services engage with suppliers to reach a mutual agreement on pricing. We recommend that longer term fixed-price contracts and call-offs from Frameworks over an extended period should now be subject to formal recognition of inflation and any extraordinary cost increases of components and raw materials as they relate to the products in question. 

The Fire and Rescue supply industry will continue to work with the NFCC Procurement Hub Team and individual Fire and Rescue Services as required to assist its customers over this most difficult period.