Safety won’t be compromised despite £1.4million funding cuts, says fire chief

Fire chiefs say safety of residents and crews will still be top of the agenda, despite funding cuts of £1.4million for the service across Staffordshire.

The Government has told Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service that the money it receives will drop to just over £8million from just under £9.5million for the next financial year.

And further reductions taking the overall drop in funding to £4.8million will come every year until 2020.

Peter Dartford

Peter Dartford

But Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford said that while the cuts will pose challenges for the service, it won’t come at the cost of safety: “As the Government continues with its austerity measures, we are continuing to balance the books in a careful and considered manner, while ensuring that our firefighters and residents are protected.

“We anticipated cuts and have planned our finances accordingly to ensure that we can meet the needs of our communities, both in terms of frontline firefighting and vital prevention work which has played an important role in helping to reduce incidents, and ultimately, save lives.

“However, the Government’s announcement will see reductions implemented on a faster scale than we had envisaged. This means that the transformation of our service will continue to remain a key priority in the coming years to enable us to deliver the significant savings required as part of the austerity agenda.”

Michael Fabricant MP

Michael Fabricant MP

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant has been among the critics of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s decision to cut one of the appliances from the city’s new station.

And he also called for emergency services to share back office functions.

Mr Dartford added: “We will always explore innovative ways of reducing spending, either by internal means or through collaboration work with our partners, while providing the most efficient and effective fire and rescue service possible.

“However, we will never put our crews or our communities at risk for any amount of financial saving.”

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