Bah Humbug…

West Midlands Fire Service has already been told it will lose at least 15 per cent of its Government grant – £11.5 million – over the next two years, this period being the final two years of the Comprehensive Spending Review – the efficiency regime launched by the Government in 2010.

The West Midlands fared badly in the first two years of the Comprehensive Spending Review, losing £10.7 million, twice as much as smaller shire brigades and because of these austerity measures it has braced itself for a further cuts announcement when it receives details of its grant for the two years from next April to March 2015 which is due on Christmas Eve!

Fire authority chairman Coun John Edwards has warned that further cuts may lead to discussions about compulsory redundancies.

“The worst case scenario is if the cut we get is more than 15 per cent,” he said. “We would then be in a position where we would have to think about compulsory redundancies of uniformed staff, which would mean closing fire stations.”

The brigade has weathered the storm through a recruitment freeze, voluntary redundancies among office staff and tweaking its fleet by buying more brigade response vehicles – 4×4 vehicles for smaller fires.

Around 60 firefighters leave every year through ill health or retirement and are not currently being replaced.

Numbers are falling dramatically and it is felt that if the  freeze is still in place by the end of 2015 then there will be just 1,250 firefighters remaining.

Cuts of 15 per cent could be managed through natural wastage and dipping into reserves, but for every one per cent over that, the equivalent of 18 jobs will be lost. Sixteen per cent would be bad; 17 per cent would be tough, 18 per cent tougher still and 19 or 20 per cent would be a total nightmare.

West Midlands Fire Service has launched a consultation on the West Midlands Fire Service plan. They are asking their communities and partners to help gather views and preferences. To have your say please complete ‘The Consultation Questionnaire’, which is available to complete online together with access to the following documents-

  • Community Safety Strategy 2013-2016
  • The Community Safety Strategy Summary

This consultation is still seeking responses underway and although it is limited in the questions asked, you are able to complete with additional comments to help protect the services in your area. Ensure your voice is heard.

Consultation ends on Friday 4th January 2013.

Whilst this consultation will be predominantly web based there is also the opportunity to download a printable version of the consultation questionnaire by clicking on the above link.

Further information regarding the Consultation and the questionnaire can be obtained by contacting  or 01213806116.


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