CLEVELAND Fire Authority members have met with Fire Minister Brandon Lewis MP to make clear the unfairness of the Government’s massive cuts to its funding and to warn him of the impact which future reductions will have on public safety.
Last Friday (7 March 2014) the Authority had to make the hard decision of approving savings proposals which included the closure of Marine Fire Station due to the Government’s £5.758m reduction to the Authority’s funding over the next four years on top of £4m cuts last year.
Chair of Cleveland Fire Authority Councillor Robbie Payne and Cleveland Fire Authority member Councillor Jan Brunton spoke to the Minister when they attended the Local Government Association Conference in Cardiff this week.
Councillor Payne said: “We believe the Government’s grant allocation to Cleveland Fire Authority is totally unfair as once again we have suffered the highest reduction in spending power of all the English fire authorities.
“We explained to Mr Lewis in detail the substantial fire risks in our area – not least from high hazard industries – and we left him in no doubt how concerned we are that our ability to make further cuts and still protect the public is becoming untenable.
“We asked him to look long and hard at the impact which any further funding cuts would have on our fire service and urged him to call a halt so that public safety is not put at risk.
“We have invited the Fire Minister to come and visit the Authority’s area and during that visit we will continue to press home this message.”