Public sector cuts: Redundancy offer to fire service staff

EVERY member of administrative and 999 control room staff at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue has been invited to apply for voluntary redundancy, as the service struggles to cope with swingeing Government spending cuts.

Over the next four years, the fire service has to find savings of 9m and has already identified where 2.5m can be saved by slashing "back-office" functions.

Now, the service has announced it is hoping to cut the current 290 control room and corporate jobs by a quarter.

This comes after the South Yorkshire Fire Authority voted to press ahead with plans to move to a self-rostering system for firefighters and control room operators, which would save 2.47m a year by making 62 firefighters and nine control posts redundant.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: "Due to the Government funding cuts, by 2015 we are likely to receive at least 9m less per year.

"Over 75 per cent of our budget is spent on staff costs so it is regrettable but inevitable that our staffing levels will reduce in the coming years.

"We are determined to protect front line services as far as possible. All corporate and control room staff have been informed that they may apply for voluntary redundancy if they wish to do so."

Fire authority members have previously said they are opposed to closing any of the county's 23 fire stations.