Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Cut Fire Service Senior Management Costs To Protect Front-Line




Cllr Nigel Bell
(LD, Ely North And East)
Savings should be made from the fire service’s senior management costs so that the county’s front-line can be protected, claim Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats.

They will remind Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority tomorrow (Thursday, May 24) that the safety of the public and staff is their primary responsibility as they meet to discuss cuts of over £5 million.

"Support services and fire-fighters have faced the brunt of the cuts agreed so far but senior management have so far seemed immune from this austerity,” said Nigel Bell, Lib Dem leader on the fire authority.

“Fire-fighters have reluctantly agreed shift changes and staff reductions that create £900k of annual savings and it's time that the senior management team costs were included in the savings review.

“We cannot support cuts to the front-line, they are unacceptable and could cost lives, and we must pursue all other options.”

The Lib Dem Members proposed council tax rises of 3.5 per cent for four years, instead of the proposed 2.5 per cent for three years, to fill the estimated funding gap, an increase of 1p a week or 58p a year for Band D properties. This would have meant frontline cuts on the current predictions for government grant settlement levels could have been avoided.

They will tell the authority tomorrow to:

  • Reject many of the Phase One cuts (numbered four to 12 in the table in the fire authority papers attached) and the Phase Two cuts;
  • Review all the fire service’s senior management costs, including the 'Silver Fleet' vehicles, with a view to achieving savings:
  • Examine all opportunities for closer working with other Fire Services to achieve potential savings;
  • Consider the prudent use of reserves to offset short-term shortfalls in funding levels;
  • Continue to press the case with MPs and the Fire Minister for a fair grant settlement for the county’s fire service.
  • Review the level of Council Tax rise for future years.

The fire authority papers can be found here:

http://www.cambsfire.gov.uk/fireauthority/9127.php