Yesterday, along with other MPs, I met with representatives of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service in Parliament to discuss the challenges currently facing the authority.
Over recent years the Fire and Rescue Service has been successful in reducing the number of fires, fire deaths and injuries in Merseyside. These achievements have attracted the interest of fire prevention authorities across the world, who have approached the Merseyside service for advice and information.
However, like many local services across the city, they are currently facing severe financial constraints. Following the spending review they had to make cuts of £9.2 million from a £70 million annual budget.
This 13% grant cut is among the highest of any fire authority in the country. Other authorities have had to face smaller cuts, while areas such as Dorset, Essex and Hampshire have actually seen modest increases to their grants.
Most of Merseyside’s savings have so far come through voluntary redundancy, fire-fighter retirements and a three year pay freeze.
I am very concerned that further cuts planned by the Government will threaten frontline fire services. The Government must think again.