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Fire chief warns budget cuts will put lives at risk
9:45am Monday 3rd September 2012 in News
The county’s chief fire officer is warning drastic cuts to the service’s budget will put lives at risk.
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service has today launched a petition calling for no further reductions in its grant from central government.
The petition comes ahead of the budget allocation announcement expected in December this year. Merseyside chief fire officer Dan Stephens said the service is bracing itself for a 27% cut in funding for the financial years 2013 to 2015.
Mr Stephens said: “The grant cut will lead to more fires, fire deaths and injuries on Merseyside. Reductions in stations, appliances and firefighters will have a significant impact on our frontline emergency response and prevention work.
"Reductions in stations, appliances and firefighters will have a significant impact on our frontline emergency response and prevention work.
“In a region with 32 of the top 100 areas of highest deprivation in the UK, the cuts would be threatening the most at risk and vulnerable people in our society.
“We have had a decade of reducing fires, fire deaths and injuries, of making significant contributions to reducing the financial cost of fire and making major contributions to our local communities in reducing anti-social behaviour and helping young become worthwhile members of society.
"Much of this success will be lost in two dramatic Government grant cuts.”
Fire authority chairman Cllr Dave Hanratty said: “Merseyside has seen its budgets cut by 12% over the last two years and has had the worst Government grant settlements of any UK service since 2005.
“The Government is now indicating further significant grant reductions over the next two years which will mean station closures, fewer firefighters and fewer fire appliances.
“It is the vulnerable and poor who will be most affected and most at risk from any further cuts in our funding. I would urge everyone in Merseyside and further afield to sign the petition.”
The petition can be accessed at www.merseyfire.gov.uk/aspx/pages/petition/