£6m budget cut threat to 60 Cleveland firefighter jobs

Up to 60 firefighters could be axed and a fire station closed because of a £6m funding cut to Cleveland Fire Brigade, officials have warned.

The brigade, which employs almost 400 full-time firefighters, said it had "no choice" but to cut staff in the face of further "public sector austerity".

The brigade, which had a net 2012/2013 budget of £31.2m, has put cost-cutting proposals out to public consultation.

The Fire Brigade's Union (FBU) has pledged to fight any further job cuts.

'No-one happy'

Robbie Payne, chair of Cleveland Fire Authority, said: "The reality of the situation is that we will have fewer firefighters staffing fewer fire engines and we may even have to close a fire station.

"Our fire service will not be the same as it is now and we know that some fire engines may take longer to reach some incidents.

"We accept that no-one will be happy about this, not least ourselves, but we believe we have no other choice as we must address the government-imposed £6m grant reduction over the next four years.

"This challenge is exacerbated given the previous years' £4m cuts and the associated job losses that have already been made as a result of public sector austerity."

A FBU spokesman said any further imposed firefighter redundancies would be opposed.

He said officials were negotiating with management in an effort to mitigate the scale of the proposed cuts.

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