East and West Sussex fire merger plan is delayed due to cash review

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Picture:  Malcolm Wells (170922-2862)

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PLANS to merge two fire services have been put on hold because of a government funding review.

West Sussex County Council and East Sussex Fire Authority have agreed to wait for further information from the Department for Communities and Local Government before making a final decision on the proposed merger.

Councillor Pete Bradbury, who heads firefighters in West Sussex, said: ‘A key element of the business case concerned the financial implications of merging. In particular how future funding for all fire and rescue services from government grants would impact on council tax and how it would deliver financial sustainability for the newly-merged service.

‘At a recent meeting with DCLG officials, it became clear that some key financial information would not be available until the outcomes of a national review of local government financing currently being undertaken are announced by the government.’

If a deal is eventually struck, the authorities would save up to £3.8m every year and officials say the quality of service would stay the same.