Nottinghamshire fire budget slashed by more than £2.5m

Nottinghamshire's fire authority has frozen its council tax rate but delayed a decision on where it will make cuts.

The authority, which has voted to slash more than £2.5m from its budget, has formed a special working group to look at where to cut.

Fire Brigades Union spokesman Phil Coates said he hoped the cuts would affect fewer than the expected 100 firefighters and four stations.

The fire authority budget is raised from council tax and government grants.

Any proposals for cuts will be subject to public consultation.

'Clean slate'

"We are starting with a clean slate now and although there could be cuts when they review it - we are hoping it won't be to the extent we had feared," Mr Coates said.

John Peck from Edwinstowe Parish Council, which has a fire station under threat of closure, presented a 2,000-name petition to the meeting, opposing any move to close the station.

He said closing the Edwinstowe fire station and moving it to Ollerton would be a mistake.

The authority voted to hold the council tax rate for 2011-12 at the same level as this year with Band D households paying £69.69 a year.

Band A households will pay £46.46 and Band B will pay £54.20 for the year.

Mr Coates added: "I have the impression the cuts may not be as bad as we had feared at first - which included the loss of 100 retained firefighters and the closure of four stations and the loss of six fire engines."

Authority chairman Darrell Pulk said some cuts were inevitable: "The government has reduced funding for fire and rescue services, and Nottinghamshire received one of the worst settlements in the country."

The fire service currently has 12 full-time and 13 retained fire stations and employs about 1,150 people, 85% in frontline roles.

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