News : Merger Plan Considered by Shropshire Fire Chiefs
May 15, 2014 -- Shropshire’s fire control service could be merged with a neighbouring 999 call centre in a cost-cutting move that could also result in job losses, it has been revealed.
Fire chiefs are putting the finishing touches to an extensive document, due to be made public next week, which tackles ways of making savings by 2020.
One of the options on the table is to merge Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service’s control service in Shrewsbury with that of another authority in Herefordshire, Worcestershire, or Warwickshire.
Sharing a control centre with police, ambulance or another fire service would save - but it could see staffing numbers in the county department cut by half.
Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service spokeswoman Elaine Adams admitted the merger was one of the proposals being put forward in the document, which will go out to consultation after being released.
But she insisted there was "no truth" in rumours that a decision had already been made.
"We need to make £900,000 worth of savings and this document will outline a whole host of ideas and plans that we could use to address that.
"One of those is that fire control may be amalgamated with some other neighbouring fire service.
"There is no truth at all that a decision has already been made. All of these plans are going out to consultation with the public.
Fire authority members agreed that four rural fire stations – in Baschurch, Hodnet, Prees and Clun – which were initially under threat of closure would be spared, saving more than 50 jobs.
Shrewsbury currently has two full-time fire engines and one on-call engine.
Telford Central has two full-time engines, Wellington has a full-time fire engine and an on-call engine. Tweedale has one on-call vehicle.
The cut is on top of the amount the service has removed from its annual budget since 2010.
The service has been vastly streamlined since 2005 including a recruitment and staff pay freeze in 2010 and a scheme to outsource services and reduce borrowing.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service:
The Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is the statutory fire and rescue service covering Shropshire, including Telford and Wrekin, in the West Midlands region of England.
Published: Monday, May 19, 2014
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