Cleveland Fire Authority’s plan for how it intends to keep community safe during £6m cuts

Ian Hayton
Ian Hayton

FIRE chiefs will present a package of proposals for how they plan to deal with deep budget cuts to Hartlepool councillors tomorrow.

Cleveland Fire Authority has produced a plan showing how it intends to manage the risks faced by the community in the light of £6 million Government cuts over the next four years.

Officials from Cleveland Fire Brigade, including chief fire officer Ian Hayton, will make a presentation on its proposals to Hartlepool Borough Council tomorrow night.

The proposals, which are open to public consultation until February 16, include 130 job losses, reducing senior managers and back office staff and the closure of a fire station in Middlesbrough.

The service would rely more on part time retained firefighters and fire engines.

Mr Hayton said: “It’s regrettable that we are forced into making these significant changes and given the choice we wouldn’t be doing them but with £6 million of savings to find something has to change.

“We are currently in the throws of a public consultation and we are encouraging the public and stakeholders, such as the council, to make their views known so the authority can take them into consideration before making a final decision.”

The Fire Authority’s Community Integrated Risk Management Plan sets out how the service will balance risks to people, property and the environment against its resources.

Mr Hayton added the challenge to find savings has been made even harder as it comes on the back of £4 million funding cuts in previous years.

But he said the service is currently seeing its lowest levels of incidents ever and demand has halved in the last 10 years.

And the majority of incidents they attend, 70 per cent, are not life threatening.

Hartlepool councillor Robbie Payne, who is also chair of Cleveland Fire Authority, previously 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.

“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.”

The presentation will take place in the council chamber at Hartlepool Civic Centre between 5pm and 6pm.