Talks to tackle budget cuts to fire service

PUBLISHED: 13:18 19 February 2013 | UPDATED: 13:18 19 February 2013

Archant

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and Avon Fire and Rescue Service have begun talks to see if there are ways they can work together in light of reduced budgets.

In a bid to tackle budget cuts Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and Avon Fire and Rescue Service have begun talks to see if there are ways they can work together.

However, the talks are in the earliest stages.

Councillor Mike Healey, the chairman of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “Working with Avon Fire and Rescue Service could provide real opportunities for improving public safety.

“We recognise that the fire and rescue service has to change and, like others, face an uncertain financial future.

“The Government direction is clear and our times of austerity are not behind us.

“Working with another fire and rescue service may help reduce our costs, whilst continuing our aim to improve or maintain public safety.”

The initial talks will look to explore all ways of working from potentially sharing supporting functions to the possibility of a full merger.

Cllr Healey has stressed that any developments considered would need to have tangible benefits for local people.

Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell, of Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, and Chief Fire Officer Kevin Pearson, of Avon Fire and Rescue Service, are leading these discussions.

The current stage of talks is purely preliminary and no decisions have been made to the extent of how the two services could work together.


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