Monday, 30 April 2012

Cambridge MP Huppert Secures Meeting With Minister Over Fire Service Funding


Cambridge MP Julian Huppert

A government minister is to meet Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert to discuss future funding for the county’s fire service.

Bob Neill, Minister for Communities and Local Government agreed to the meeting in the House of Commons today (Monday, April 30) after Julian called for greater clarity over the government’s funding plans for the service.

“Fire services, such as ours in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough which are already low cost and largely have retained fire-fighters, are extremely vulnerable to excessive funding reductions and have no alternative other than the withdrawal of some appliances and the closure of fire stations, beyond a certain point,” Julian told the minister.

“I do accept the need for some savings, but there is still a lack of clarity as to how much this service will have to save. Will he meet with me, staff from the Authority and Service, and other local MPs, who are also concerned, to discuss how much funding there will be available in the future?”

Mr Neill said: “In relation to funding overall, the reduction to funding in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is 1.5 per cent in terms of reduction of their spending power.

“I am glad to say that their joint bid for Suffolk to improve fire control room services was successful and they will receive £400,000 revenue and £180,000 capital funding.

“I am always happy to meet with Honorable Members to discuss the circumstances in their own constituencies.”

Later Julian said: “I am delighted that the minister has agreed to meet to discuss this issue.

“The Fire Authority cannot be expected to make decisions about the future of our fire service without having all the facts. The government has to be completely clear about the level of funding that the service can expect in the future so that our fire cover can be protected.

“Now l am hoping that we will be able to get the answers to our questions to give the fire authority a much more solid base from which to work.

"I spent an evening recently with the White Watch in Cambridge, and it was clear what a great job they do - they deserve to know what they will be able to do in the future"