Firefighters will be protected - pledge

EMPLOYEES going part-time and backroom staff job losses are just two of the solutions being earmarked by Avon and Fire Rescue after it announced that its budget will be cut by �2.3million in the next year.

The service will have to find savings of around �15million in the next four years, although the Avon Fire Authority’s chairman says that frontline services will be protected.

At a meeting of the authority, held to discuss how to implement the cuts, other solutions included asking staff to take unpaid sabbaticals, and the sharing of facilities such as human resources departments with other authorities.

The authority’s chairman, Terry Walker, said: “Out of all the forces in the South West, Avon Fire and Rescue has been hit the hardest with cuts of around nine per cent of our budget, whereas Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue will actually see theirs increase by around two per cent.

“We’re going to have a big review, cut down on the management brigade and look at outsourcing our backroom functions, but we are committed to keeping our core services intact.

“They are the most important service we offer, and we are going to work very hard to make sure that engines and the firefighters on the frontline won’t be affected.”