North East Wales

More consultation over firefighter cuts to north Wales service

Firefighter protective clothing

Plans to cut up to 24 firefighter posts and remove one fire engine in north Wales are to be put out to consultation.

It follows a vote by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority, which met to consider the plans for Wrexham station.

The proposed changes could save £1m from its 2019/2020 budget, which the authority says can no longer be frozen due to inflation and pension costs.

But the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has warned against the "brutal cuts".

Shane Price, secretary of the FBU in north Wales, said: "I understand the financial position the service is in, however losing a further 24 full-time posts within a small service like north Wales will be a devastating loss.

"We have already suffered huge cuts over the past few years with one in five frontline firefighter jobs being cut."

'Short-sighted'

He said it would be "simply inconceivable" that it could deliver "the same level of service to the public" if the cuts were to go ahead.

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones has also expressed "deep concerns" about the proposals.

Ms Jones said she feared response times would increase and lives could be put at risk by the "short-sighted" cuts proposed.

But Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dawn Docx said there was a variety of money saving options on the table.

Image caption The fire service has been briefing the six councils which fund it on the scenarios facing its budget

She said the fire service's budget could no longer be frozen due to the cost of inflation and rising pension costs and the decision to reduce future services was "the least damaging option".

Authority chairman Councillor Meirick Davies said: "After careful consideration it was decided that we will consult on the proposed budget strategy which includes the potential removal of a whole time pump from Wrexham by the end of the decade.

"We look forward to hearing people's views during the consultation, which will take place in the autumn."

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