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Cheshire firefighters face job cuts over £5m savings

Firefighters
Image caption The fire service said it was confident no compulsory redundancies would be needed

Plans to cut the number of firefighters in Cheshire have been revealed as the fire service tries to deal with a £5m cut to its budget.

Proposals outlined by Cheshire Fire Authority include reducing the number of full-time firefighters it employs and having more part-time workers.

It also wants to build up to five new stations to improve response times in key areas.

It said it was confident no compulsory redundancies would be needed.

The fire service is proposing building new stations in Penketh, Alsager, Neston and two on the M56 at its junctions with the M53 and the M6.

'Improve safety'

It is planning to introduce 12-hour day shifts on some stations and increase the number of part-time or on-call firefighters.

The plans will be subject to a formal 12-week public consultation, which will run until 17 December.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Hancock said: "Over the past seven years the number of incidents attended by the service has dropped by over 40%, with significant reductions in house, business and rubbish fires.

"At the same time, we have kept the same number of firefighters, brought in new specialist equipment such as rescue boats and midi fire engines and kept our 24 fire stations."

He added: "These proposals involve changes for both our staff and local communities.

"I am convinced, however, that they will ensure we can continue to improve the safety of our communities in the future."

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