A MEXBOROUGH councillor has warned against further cuts to ‘bare bones’ fire services in the Dearne after plans for £5 million of further savings were announced.
Fire chiefs are warning that more ‘tough decisions’ need to be made over frontline services in South Yorkshire – after the Government further slashed funding in December.
The Government has reduced funding to the brigade by around £9.5 million since 2011.
Mexborough councillor Tracey Leyland said: “The fire service is running on a bare bones service as it is
“People say there is less chance of fires because of fire safety and prevention measures which have been introduced but we still need that resource.
“We lost our own fire station seven years ago despite a 16,000 name petition and a campaign and now it looks like we are facing even more cutbacks.
“All these cuts are having a bigger impact in the North. The North South divide is just getting bigger”.
With further funding cuts thought likely, fire chiefs said further changes to frontline services, on top of job losses and stations closures already announced, are ‘inevitable’.
Chief fire officer Jamie Courtney and Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey campaigned against funding cuts, pointing out that large cities bearing the brunt of the cuts served the most populated areas with the most deprived communities, and employed the majority of the UK’s full-time firefighters.
Mr Courtney said: “I would like to thank John Healey and the county’s other MPs who supported our campaign for a fair funding settlement for South Yorkshire’s fire service.
“Our funding cut for 2013-15 is not as bad as we had feared, but it still represents another £5 million on top of the £4.7 million cut we have already had imposed.
Mr Healey said the £5 million budget reduction in South Yorkshire over the next two years could have been worse if the Government had not listened to concerns about the inequality of cuts two years earlier. MPs and fire chiefs have been calling for any further cuts to be a flat-rate across the country, as with the police.