A SENIOR town councillor has urged people to have their say on the impact Government cuts will have on the fire service.
Coun Robbie Payne, who is chairman of Cleveland Fire Authority, spoke out after Cleveland Fire Brigade launched a six-week consultation exercise on its on its Community Integrated Risk Management Plan for the next four years.
In an attempt to save money, the Brigade has put forward a host of proposals which will save money without compromising public safety.
Coun Payne said: “It is always difficult to make decisions that are borne out of budget constraints but as a forward thinking Fire Service, Cleveland is once again leading the way and showing that it is making sound business decisions that will ensure the service is efficient, effective and robust.
“The reality of the situation is that we will have fewer firefighters staffing fewer fire engines and we may even have to close a fire station.
“Our fire service will not be the same as it is now and we know that some fire engines may take longer to reach some incidents.
“We accept that no-one will be happy about this, not least ourselves but we believe we have no other choice as the Authority must address the Government imposed £6m grant reduction over the next four years.
“This challenge is exacerbated given the previous years’ £4m cuts and the associated job losses that have already been made within the service as a result of public sector austerity.
“I would encourage everyone to take part in this consultation process and let us know their views.
“The responses we receive are vital and will help shape the fire service in future years.”
A series of consultation meetings will be held where officers will be giving presentations and answering any questions that people have.
The Community Plan will be made available online at www.clevelandfire.gov.uk along with an opportunity to comment online or through social media.
Consultation forms are also available from fire stations, council offices and libraries across Teesside.
For more information regarding the consultation process, visit www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/haveyoursay