Wales

228 firefighter jobs at risk in north Wales budget review

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Media captionThe North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority is funded from councils via residents' council tax payments

More than 220 firefighters' jobs could be lost in north Wales if its funding is not increased by £3.3m over the next five years, bosses have warned.

The North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority said years of cuts mean core services may be hit in the future.

A range of options include axing 228 jobs and closing seven retained fire stations and removing engines, leaving areas without local part-time support.

The authority is funded from councils via residents' council tax payments.

However, it says its near £32m budget has changed little in the last five years although council tax payments have increased.

It says this has already led to cuts of £2.4m (£800,000 annually since 2010/11) to pay for "unavoidable cost increases".

Three options

The authority is now planning its budget for the next five years which has prompted the start of a public consultation.

Its options include continuing to freeze annual budgets until 2019/20, making £3.3m cuts equivalent to 10% of its budget, closing fire stations, losing fire engines and cutting firefighter posts.

It also suggests absorbing a drop in funding next year equivalent to that being faced by local authorities which will see budgets cut by 3.7% on average but this would lead to the loss of 60 firefighter jobs straight away.

A third option is to ask councils to increase their funding to the fire authority to enable it to maintain its current service level.

Fire authority chair councillor Meirick Lloyd Davies said: "The questions we are asking as part of this consultation are to do with how we can ensure we provide the best service possible with the money we have available to us."

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