Fire Service meet Essex MP's
A senior fire service delegation will be travelling to Westminster tomorrow (Tuesday) in a last ditch bid to persuade MPs not to press on with frontline cuts to the fire and rescue service.
Chairman of the fire Authority Councillor Tony Hedley, Chief Fire Officer David Johnson and Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Service Delivery, Gordon Hunter, will be meeting local MPs to reinforce recent communication relating to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and how it will impact Essex.
They hope the face to face briefing will give them an opportunity to lobby for support to protect firefighters jobs and pensions.
The Fire Authority will meet on Wednesday to agree a set of principles that will guide ECFRS management in implementing changes to save some £10m from ECFRS’ budget next year. Some £3m of efficiencies have already been identified, another £1.6m will come from back office support functions leaving more than £5m to be found from frontline services.
“We are doing all we can to make our Essex MPs understand the consequences of frontline cuts and to try to win support for our dedicated and hard-working crews, may of whom have served the public well for 30 years only to see a challenge to pensions they are due. The pensions issue is one we are all keen to resolve as we move ahead to face the financial challenges coming our way,” said CFO Johnson.
“At the moment we are looking at all of our options and will be going to the Fire Authority later in the week to present a series of options and to gain buy in from elected members to support a course of action that will bring significant changes to the way ECFRS delivers its services.
“These options include the potential closure of a fire station, a reduction in the number of pumping appliances and changes to crewing arrangements from wholetime to retained. Full detail of these proposals will be presented to the Fire Authority in January.”
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