MPs to discuss funding fears in fire service

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SOUTH Yorkshire MPs are to meet the Government’s fire minister to discuss concerns fire service funding cuts will put lives at risk and lead to hundreds of firefighters losing their jobs.

Labour’s Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey and Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts are among a cross-party delegation due to meet with Bob Neill today.

The MPs represent constituencies in six Metropolitan areas - South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Tyne and Wear and West Midlands - facing Government funding cuts while some richer, rural counties are getting more money.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Healey said: “Our areas have taken the biggest hit in the first two years, while some parts of the country are getting an increase in funding.

“The fire chiefs have put together a strong, factual case about their fears for future safety and services if ministers don’t spread cuts more fairly in the next two years.

“My job is to lead the arguments with the Government and lead the cross-party cross-area pressure to make ministers see the risks they will run.”

The fire services facing the funding cuts fear an ‘increased risk to the public and large-scale compulsory redundancies’ and that the cuts could jeopardise the country’s ability to deal with major incidents.