Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority today vowed to keep
up the pressure for a fair grant settlement from Government.
Authority members met to agree the budget for 2012-13 and agreed
to freeze its precept on council tax and make savings of Â£6.5m.
Chairman of the Authority Councillor David Acton said: "There's
no question about it, we are fighting for our resources as we are
facing unprecedented cuts in our budget. Savings made last year and
reductions planned for the future currently total Â£19m over a four
year period. If nothing changes with the current grant situation,
there could be a further Â£10m to save in the next few years.
"So far we have managed to achieve this without closing fire
stations and without the need for compulsory redundancies. But if
the national grant formula doesn't alter, then there will be a
difficult road ahead."
The Fire Service has already reduced staff by 400 through the
loss of 300 uniformed posts and 100 support roles. Further savings
will be made through a range of measures outlined in its
Operational Strategy and in how frontline emergency service is
delivered, including a new rostering system at stations.
The Fire Authority is taking advantage of a Government grant
being offered to those local authorities setting a zero increase in
their council tax. By doing this, they hope to lighten the burden
faced by the public during the current time of austerity.
In a bid to prevent further large scale cuts, Fire Authority
members from all political parties unanimously passed a resolution
expressing concern about the current situation and appealing for a
fairer Government grant settlement in future.
Cllr Acton said: "We have already made significant reductions
over the past few years and our budget agreed today will save an
"We know everyone is facing hardship which is why we have agreed
this without any additional burden on council tax payers.
"We have been doing everything we can to lobby for the change in
the current national grant formula and we will continue to do so.
We want the formula to take into account the different challenges
faced by Metropolitan Fire Authorities like Greater Manchester
compared to the more rural areas. We are not asking for anything
other than a fairer settlement.
"Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority is working really
hard to provide the best possible service to the communities of
Greater Manchester within the resources we have."