Hampshire’s fire authority has agreed that proposals which could see more than 200 firefighter roles cut should go to public consultation.
The Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority unanimously agreed today that proposals under the Risk Review project can go forward for a three-month public consultation, which will start on Monday, September 14.
Over the past 18 months Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has been working on a plan to cope with a funding shortfall of £12.2m over the next four years. Project Risk Review has looked at how all 51 stations across the county are staffed, the vehicles used and the numbers of callouts.
With this in mind, plans have been drawn up to help the service save up to £5m with £3.5m of that coming from front-line savings – staff and equipment costs.
The number of full-time firefighters would fall from 576 to 488 and retained crew would drop to 519 from 656.
Councillors on the board praised the openness of deputy chief officer Neil Odin and his team in sharing information so far.
However concerns were raised that the review was a mask for cuts.
Councillor David Simpson, who represents Hartley, Wintney, Eversley, and Yately West, said: ‘We are being told this is very good and the way forward in working, but if we did not have these financial imperatives then would you still have put this forward?’
Responding, Mr Odin said: ‘These proposals have been with us for some time.
‘It will still take three years to achieve.
‘If improvements costs us less money then that is the right thing to do.’
Details on the consultation will be given later this week where it is thought a public meeting in Portsmouth will be announced.