Lichfield’s MP has blasted the “bluster and personal insults” from the chairman of the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority.
Cllr Len Bloomer called Michael Fabricant “ill-informed” after the Conservative MP had backed plans for Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s back office functions to be merged.
But the Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA) has now decided it will investigate possible collaboration with other emergency services.
Mr Fabricant said: “I am pleased that the FRA has decided it will now explore the proposals made by Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis, which I support.
“But I hope this is not just a time delaying exercise. Merging back office functions and other operations between the police and fire services will achieve the savings needed without any cut back of front line services.
“Red faced bluster and personal insults from the chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority do little either for his dignity or for the future of the Fire Service in our county.”
Cllr Bloomer also defended criticism of the decision to remove one of the two engines from Lichfield fire station.
He said: “All decisions made by the FRA on behalf of the people of Staffordshire are carefully considered and based on hard evidence.”
But Mr Fabricant insists the decision to build the new station while reducing the level of cover does not add up.
“The loss of a major fire fighting engine in Lichfield is both unacceptable and unnecessary,” he said.
“To be clear: my job is to fight for Lichfield and Burntwood, and when I hear sustained evidence from experienced firefighting professionals that safety is being put at risk because of downgrading of equipment, I will not stand idly by – particularly if a pefectly good solution is at hand.
“Matthew Ellis has made some positive financial proposals and it makes good sense to see greater merging of activities between the police and our fire service to maintain high standards of fire safety.
“That must be the first priority. Not preserving the status quo of various committees at any cost.”