South Yorkshire fire chiefs agree to postpone decision on cost cutting measures
South Yorkshire fire chiefs have agreed to postpone their decision on cost cutting measures – including reducing firefighter numbers.
During a meeting yesterday, South Yorkshire Fire Authority members were due to discuss ways of saving cash, including reducing the number of firefighters on engines from five to four.
The Fire Brigades Union described a reduction in staffing levels as ‘absolutely unthinkable’ and said the move would threaten firefighter and public safety.
During yesterday’s meeting, the fire authority agreed to explore other ways of saving cash.
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The FBU said the move was ‘significant progress in the right direction’.
The authority is expected to consider looking at cutting costs in other areas, such as senior salaries and expensive non-essential purchases.
Neil Carbutt, the FBU South Yorkshire brigade secretary, said: “We’re pleased that the authority has made significant progress in the right direction, seeking an alternative to cuts that would risk the safety of firefighters and the public.
“Huge cuts in central government funding have placed Labour councillors in an impossible position, forcing them to impose Tory austerity on the people of South Yorkshire. It’s vital that the fire authority exhaust all options of funding to keep our community safe.
“This latest development gives firefighters the breathing space needed to continue protecting the public, but it’s crucial that members and the wider public continue to fight these cuts as the proposals enter their consultation phase.”
The FBU claims that nearly a third of South Yorkshire firefighter jobs have been axed since 2010, while central government funding for the service has been cut by £3.4 million since 2016/17.