Shropshire fire service to see £2 million cut
The fire service and authority in the county will face the budget cuts over the next four years.
The cuts represent 28% of the Shropshire Fire Authority’s budget, and according to the Fire Brigades Union, this is the ‘highest percentage cut to a fire authority’s budget in the country’, with only Hereford and Worcester seeing equal levels. The cuts make up part of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Local Government Settlement.
This provides figures for central grants allocated to both metropolitan and combined fire authorities in England, with the deal meaning Shropshire Fire Authority’s income from central government is set to fall from £7.2m in 2015-16 to £5.2m by 2019-2020. The authority previously had been put into financial difficulties from austerity measures, which cut around £3.2m from its £20m budget since 2010.
The cuts since then work out at 10% of firefighters and support staff losing their jobs, alongside a 25% fall in senior officer roles. Malcolm Stevenson, a spokesman for the Shropshire Fire Authority, confirmed the figures and stated: ‘We, the fire authority, anticipated these reductions well in advance, and a plan has been put in place that will ensure our delivery of service up to 2020 and beyond that.’
A spokesman for the Fire Brigades Union said: ‘The central point is that these figures are very bad news – a 20% cut overall – more of the same. Once again they show that the fire and rescue service has not been protected. In some cases, fire authorities will lose a quarter of their central revenue over the next four years.
‘What this government and its predecessor have done to the fire and rescue service is a travesty. They have axed 10,000 firefighter jobs across the UK during the last seven years – around one fifth of the workforce. At a time of increasing risks from an ageing population, flooding and various other emergencies, they are tearing up the fabric of our communities. It’s about time politicians raised their voices in protest.’