Fire chief’s warning over budget cuts

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SOUTH Yorkshire’s Chief fire officer has issued a stark warning that continued cuts to the service’s budget could see seven fire stations axed in South Yorkshire - putting lives at risk.

Chief fire officer Jamie Courtney gave the dire warning in a report put together by the Association of Metropolitan Fire and Rescue Authorities which represents the six largest fire departments in the country.

In it he said continued government cuts would result in more deaths because it would take frontline staff longer to reach stricken casualties.

Mr Courtney and colleagues in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands and West Yorkshire say more cuts will result in the sacking of frontline firefighters and longer response times.

They say fire services have already suffered ‘disproportionate cuts’ by the government and claim if they continue at the same pace - around 27 per cent - for the rest of the spending review period to 2015, they will have a ‘potentially catastrophic impact’.