Warning over fire cuts

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A FREEZE on firefighter recruitment will continue as fire bosses try to meet Government budget cuts.

West Yorkshire Fire Service will also lose 150 support jobs as the service takes action to meet a £5.8m cash shortfall for the next financial year.

A stop on recruiting firefighters has been in place since last Summer and will carry on “for the foreseeable future”.

Fire bosses say they should be able to manage through the next two years, but fear the impact of cuts after that could hit frontline services.

Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling  said  ministers  had  yet  to  reveal  the  exact  level  of  grant for 2013-15, but the budget shortfall could rise to an additional £11m. 

“Obviously, cuts on  at scale can’t be managed without affecting  the  frontline, which is why I have embarked on a root-and-branch review of fire cover across the whole county,” he said.

“We will have to try and deliver the same with much, much less. Non-recruitment alone will cost 200 firefighter posts over the four-year period. 

“I’m hoping that initial options will be available by the spring so we can start involving the public and our staff in decision-making as appropriate and as early as possible.”