fire service faces huge government cash cut of £7.3 million
grant funding for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service
will reduce by a total of £7.3 million by 2019/20, it has
been announced this week - raising concerns over cuts to the service.
The draft budget announcement indicates that the Government has
applied an 8.6% reduction for 2016/17, this equates to £2.5m.
will be further reductions of 10.2%, 4.3% and 1.8% in the following
Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell said: "Clearly this will mean
further significant changes to the way we operate as a Service."
"Our priority in everything that we do will always be to
improve public and staff safety and we will need to do this within
a context of a reduced budget."
Changes to the Services budget which will go to the Fire
Authority in February 2016 include non-staff budget lines such
as training will be reduced by £1 million; reduce support
staff costs, saving £500,000; join the strategic alliance
with Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police to reduce costs
in the years ahead; reduce operational staffing costs by £1.3
million through natural turnover due to crewing changes decided
will also be a reduction in middle management posts, a new call
handling system and a new shift system or annualised hours for
Service will increase funding during the next four years for the
replacement of operational vehicles and its ageing building stock.
Fire Officer Howell added: "We made some difficult decisions
in 2013 and this has meant we have met the savings required to
have a plan for the next four years to deliver the savings required
but it will require effective management, communication and planning
to deliver these real savings."