West Midlands’ pessimism as cuts bite

30 June 2015

A councillor is the latest local authority representative to warn that continuing government spending reductions will seriously compromise the delivery of future fire and rescue operations.

John Edwards issued the warning on his reappointment as chairman of the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority which, he says, faces budget reductions of £14million over three to five years.

“We are at tipping point,” the Labour councillor and former firefighter said.

“I am calling on the government to listen to our concerns that fire stations and fire engines might have to go, and that firefighters will lose their jobs.

“It calls into question our continuing ability to provide the effective and efficient fire service, and five-minute response time, that people in the West Midlands expect and deserve.

“In July, we might get an indication of our likely grant settlement in the Chancellor’s budget, but are unlikely to get the details until December. We obviously can’t sit back and wait, and are already planning.”

Mr Edwards said so far the brigade had lost 36 per cent of its government grant - which was £28 million. 

“It’s a huge hit with very little other place to go for our finances because we rely heavily on the government grant,” he said.

“That would mean we have lost 60 per cent of our budget between 2011 and 2018.”

Original Sources

Birmingham Mail
Express & Star