Fire chiefs in warning over frontline services

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FIRE chiefs are warning that more ‘tough decisions’ need to be made over frontline services in South Yorkshire - after the Government slashed funding by £5 million.

The Government has reduced funding to the brigade by around £9.5 million since 2011.

With further funding cuts thought likely, fire chiefs said further changes to frontline services, on top of job losses and stations closures already announced, are ‘inevitable’.

Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney and Rotherham MP John Healey campaigned against funding cuts, pointing out that large cities bearing the brunt of the cuts served the most populated areas with the most deprived communities, and employed the majority of the UK’s full-time firefighters.

Mr Courtney said: “I would like to thank John Healey and the county’s other MPs who supported our campaign for a fair funding settlement for South Yorkshire’s fire service.

“Our funding cut for 2013-15 is not as bad as we had feared it might be, but it still represents another £5 million on top of the £4.7 million cut we have already had imposed.

n The MP at the forefront of the campaign for fairer fire service funding cuts said the ‘axe has been brought down evenly’. John Healey, who represents Rotherham, said the £5 million budget reduction in South Yorkshire over the next two years could have been worse if the Government had not listened to concerns about the inequality of cuts two years earlier.