Greater Manchester firefighter job losses 'will put people at risk'

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Image copyright GMFRS
Image caption The fire service said the job losses were an inevitable result of central government funding cuts

Plans to cut about 250 firefighters in Greater Manchester would "put people at risk", the chairman of the region's fire authority has warned.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is considering the job losses in a bid to save £14.7m over four years following government funding cuts.

Authority chairman David Acton said the service was being "stretched to the limit".

The plans will be discussed by the fire authority at a meeting on Thursday.

Mr Acton said that repeated budget cuts were having a "massive impact" on the fire service's "resilience".

'Deaths rising'

"It puts people more at risk, it puts our businesses at risk and there's no doubt it's a real challenge for us as a fire service to be able to cope," he added.

"We know exactly what we need on the ground and the government are falling short in terms of that."

Mr Acton's concerns were echoed by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) which has urged the service to reconsider the cuts at a time when deaths from fires are rising.

Gary Keary, secretary of the FBU in Greater Manchester, said: "We urge the service and local politicians to think again about these drastic frontline cuts that will undoubtedly lead to lives being lost."

Assistant County Fire Officer Dave Keelan admitted the job losses would "impact on fire cover, response times and our service as a whole".

"The FBU is right when they say fires and deaths from fires are rising," he said.

"It is a challenging time for us and we have been talking to local people in the last few months to consult with them about how we move forward to meet their needs," he added.

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