Fire chiefs meet over cuts

FIRE chiefs have called for a change in the way Government grants are worked out as they discussed savage budget cuts faced by the brigade in the next two years.

Cleveland Fire Authority met to discuss the impact of the £3.4m cut in its revenue grant from the Government, including £2.5m next year.

Ian Hayton, Cleveland Fire Brigade’s chief fire officer, described it as “a dire situation” in a presentation to members at fire authority headquarters in Hartlepool.

It is feared between 75 and 85 jobs could be lost leading to an increase in fires and deaths.

Members pledged to lobby the Government for a fairer deal and called for a change in the way grant funding is calculated.

They are also calling on the public and region’s MPs for support.

Hartlepool councillor Robbie Payne, chairman of Cleveland Fire Authority, said: “It’s not about politics. It’s about protecting the people of Cleveland.”

• Full story in Saturday’s Mail.