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Fire Authority Members agree not to close fire stations
written by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue on the 16th February 2015 at 11:40

At this morning's Fire Authority meeting, Members of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority have agreed NOT to close the fire stations in Gosforth, Sunderland and Wallsend. At the same meeting members agreed to increase the Council Precept by 1.99%. At the meeting Chairman, Cllr Tom Wright, said: “I would like to refer to the motion the Authority passed at the February meeting last year. “In this, the Authority stated that we would 'revisit the IRMP annually in light of future financial settlements from the Government' as it was our aim 'that station closures will only be considered as a last resort.' “I note the financial situation just discussed at the meeting, in particular two very positive areas; the increase in the Council Tax base which improves the Authority budget by £330,000, we have also just agreed to increase the Council Tax precept by 1.99%, again improving the long term budget of the Authority by £396,000.” Taking this financial information into account Cllr Wright proposed the following motion which was agreed by the Members. “Today the Fire Authority have approved the budget for 2015/16 which has £726,000 built into it from changes in Council Tax base and precept, due to this I propose the Authority authorise the Chief Fire Officer to change the implementation plan for the Response Review, to implement Option 1 only, removing any station closures from the plan.” Option 1 was to:• Crew appliances at stations with one fire appliance with four staff• Remove six fire appliances across the Service (a reduction from 30 to 24)• Introduce two Targeted Response Vehicles (TRVs) for lower risk incidents 24/7• Introduce an additional two TRVs to be dual staffed at night and as required• Remove two fire appliances for up to 12 hours at night• Reduce aerial ladder platforms from three to two• Invest in new firefighting technologies to enhance performance and firefighter safety Following this decision the four year high level implementation plan will be updated to reflect option1. Cllr Wright continued: “It is important to note that the Authority still faces significant financial challenges ahead which we will need to address. “Between 2010/11 and 2017/18 we will have lost a significant proportion of our funding, over £14m. These cuts are disproportionately high compared to most other Fire Authorities and the areas of greatest need, mainly Metropolitan areas, continue to see the highest level of overall cuts to their funding.” “The impact and size of the cuts will continue to be monitored to ensure the long term stability of the organisation. The Fire Authority's number one priority is, and will always be, the safety of our staff and the public. We will continue to lobby against the financial reductions to prevent any future cuts to this excellent service.”
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