Steve Rotheram Joins Fire Chiefs in Parliament

(November 24, 2011)

Steve Portrait

MERSEYSIDE’S chief fire officer led a delegation to the House of Commons to lobby MPs about the dangers of making more cuts to the service.

It came as a report to the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority warned of “the very real likelihood” of compulsory redundancies to achieve the necessary savings likely to be demanded by government.

Chief fire officer Dan Stephens joined his counterparts from the five other metropolitan fire authorities outside London to brief politicians – including Walton MP Steve Rotheram – on the dangers of further significant government budget cuts.

They pointed out that the metropolitan authorities provided much of the fire and rescue service’s national resilience to manage the threat from terrorism, flooding and climate change.

The Government has already indicated that the services face even greater grant reductions in years 2013/14 and 2014/15.

Mr Stephens said: “MPs from the constituencies covered by Metropolitan fire and rescue authorities listened to what we had to say and many were very supportive of our case.

“We are not going to sit back and wait for the cuts to happen.

“Instead, we are going to continue making our case to the decision makers.

“The public have a right to expect an appropriately funded fire and rescue service.”

The “Mets” have already warned that further cuts would lead to a “significant reduction in firefighters, some compulsory redundancies, fewer fire appliances and fire station closures.”

In their evidence, they also made it clear “there is no possibility that back-office, middle office or procurement or any other non-operational measure could in anyway deliver the size of cuts envisaged by Government.”

No explicit figures have yet been received, and the fire and rescue services do not expect to receive confirmation of their grant allocation until late next year.

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