I am very concerned about the impact of drastic Government cuts on Merseyside’s Fire and Rescue Services. Strong lobbying by Merseyside MPs and the Fire Authority prevented the cuts being even deeper.
The current Merseyside Grant cut for 2013/14 is 8.7% and will be cut by a further 7.5% in 2014/15. Merseyside received the worst Grant settlement in the country for the last two years, this cut was twice the national average.
The Fire Authority has already had to make £9.2 million of savings in the last two years and will now have to make a further £10 million of savings over the next two years.
It is deplorable that the scale and depth of Government cuts mean that front line services will now be affected. The Fire Authority has announced that the budget cuts will come from £7 million in back office and support services and £3 million from emergency response. More than 140 jobs, 90 of these firefighter posts will be lost as a result. All of the fire stations will be kept open but the number of fire engines will be reduced.
Our fire and rescue services play a vital role in our communities and it is appalling that Government cuts are having a substantial impact on front line services.
I have raised the issue of the unfair cuts on a number of occasions with the Government and met with representatives from the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service. I will continue to fight against further cuts to secure a fairer deal for Liverpool and Merseyside.