Fire service prepares to announce cuts

CUTS Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service says no firefighters' jobs are at risk
CUTS Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service says no firefighters' jobs are at risk
James Taylor at his desk in his office at 116 High Street, Old Portsmouth.

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HAMPSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service has insisted no firefighter jobs are at risk from the cuts due to be announced next week.

It admits that around 40 staff posts are under threat because of cuts to the service’s budget, but will not release full details until a period of consultation completes on April 20.

Hampshire Fire Brigade Union secretary, Paul Trew, said it was ridiculous to ask the already slimmed-down service to make further cuts.

He said: ‘I have some sympathy with management.

‘It’s not what they would have wanted, they are between a rock and a hard place.

‘Eighty per cent of the fire service budget is made up of staffing costs – there are not many places you can cut from because the fire service is a lean machine.’

Fire service communications officer, Rachel O’Neill, said: ‘As part of our financial planning, we have had a recruitment freeze in place for 18 months.

‘This, together with natural staff turnover, and redeployment of staff into other areas of the service, has dramatically reduced the number of posts at risk.

‘This has put us in a relatively better position than colleagues in other public services.’