Sheffield & South Yorkshire

140 firefighters in South Yorkshire could be axed

The South Yorkshire fire service has unveiled plans to shed 140 firefighter jobs in a bid to save money.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) made the proposals in light of the government funding cuts of £10m per year by 2015.

John Gilliver, from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), said the cuts would have a "massive impact" on the front line.

Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney said despite not wanting to make changes he had been left with no option.

Under the plans 68 full-time and 32 retained firefighters would make an overall saving of £2.25m per year, with an additional reduction of 40 full-time firefighter posts from internal staffing, making an overall saving for the service of £4m per annum.

SYFR said it intended to lose full-time firefighters through natural wastage avoiding redundancies.

'Minimum impact'

Mr Courtney said: "Firefighter costs represent by far the largest part of our budget.

"The challenge to us is to reduce the number of firefighters we employ whilst having the minimum possible impact on our emergency response service.

"We have thoroughly researched all the options and I am satisfied that, in my professional opinion as a firefighter with over 20 years' service, these proposals will help us reduce our costs with the minimum impact on service delivery," added Mr Courtney.

But Mr Gilliver from the FBU said a cut to front line services would increase attendance times to emergency call outs.

"I think this is management which is running short on ideas. This brigade has already being cut massively.

"These kind of cuts on front line services have a serious impact."

Earlier this month SYFR announced plans to close fire stations in Darnall, Mansfield Road, and the part-time station at Mosborough replacing them with two new stations near the Sheffield Parkway and Birley.

Three countrywide roving pump fire engines could also be removed under the plans which will be discussed at the Fire and Rescue Authority meeting on 31 October and could lead to a 13-week consultation if plans are approved in-principle.

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