Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

CUTTING BACK; Brigade Faced with Having to Save Pounds 2m

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

CUTTING BACK; Brigade Faced with Having to Save Pounds 2m

Article excerpt

Byline: By SANDY McKENZIE

FOURTEEN options for cutbacks are being considered for the fire service on Teesside.

They were outlined to Middlesbrough Council last night

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by Ian Hayton, Cleveland Fire Brigade's executive director.

Councillors criticised the Government for its lack of financial support for the brigade.

They passed a motion which supported efforts to "secure the funding necessary to maintain and develop local fire services and community safety".

Mr Hayton said the fire service was faced with having to make savings worth more than pounds 2m in the coming three years.

The brigade and Cleveland Fire Authority were looking at 14 possible options to make savings. They included:

Reducing crewing on fire engines so when two appliances attended an incident they would be crewed by eight, instead of nine, firefighters.

Abolishing station-based community safety teams.

Reviewing staffing and response times for the brigade's environmental protection unit and the incident command support unit.

Closing the Marine Fire Station in Middlesbrough or changing the station to a centre for arson reduction with the fire appliance being kept to respond to low risk small fires during the day.

Maintain a vacancy level of six posts.

Consider buying in services such as information technology and vehicle maintenance.

Streamline senior management.

Maintain council tax increases at 4.5% to 5%.

Use cash from reserves to help the budget.

Mr Hayton pointed to the success on Teesside in the past four years in cutting fires, reducing injuries and deaths in fires, tackling the problem of hoax calls, contributing to road safety, and making 80,000 fire safety visits to homes and fitting 100,000 smoke alarms.

In the motion proposed by Councillor Peter Porley and backed unanimously, the Cleveland fire service was congratulated for its successes.

It said: "This council believes Cleveland's combination of densely populated urban areas together with industrial risk within the second-largest cluster of process industries in the world, makes it unique. …

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