Fire service jobs axed in plan to save £3m

MORE than 150 West Yorkshire fire service jobs are to go in a £3m cost-cutting plan.

The job losses, including station cooks, administration staff and fire safety officers, comes as the fire authority attempts to cover a 5.3m loss in government funding.

The changes will be achieved mainly through voluntary redundancy, retirements and the ending of temporary contracts.

A fire service spokesman said: "These measures, together with the ongoing firefighter recruitment freeze and use of balances, should enable us to balance the books next year."

He added: "Job losses are mainly in areas where either workload has reduced or where services can be delivered more flexibly."

A review of fire cover across the county is under way, with a report expected in April, and further cuts, including the possible loss of firefighter posts, are expected next year.

Coun Chris Townsley, chairman of the authority's personnel and training committee, said longer-term savings had been identified which would see the loss of 15 officer posts by natural wastage, saving 800,000 over three years.

No-one was available to comment from the Fire Brigades Union.

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