Concerns raised as fire service considers cuts

Fire Service
Fire Service

Seven firefighter posts are at risk of being lost across eight fire stations in Lincolnshire, including Boston’s, in a bid to save money.

The cuts form part of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s proposals for the coming financial year.

The service is required by Lincolnshire County Council to save £296,000 in 2015/16. However, it is planning further ahead and aiming to save £1.23m over four years.

The seven ‘wholetime firefighter posts’ would be lost across the county’s eight wholetime fire stations, one of which is in Boston.

It is just one option put forward by the service as a potential saving in its ‘Integrated Risk Management Planning Consultation Document’.

Coun Paul Kenny, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Boston and Skegness and member of Boston Borough Council, has spoken out over the cost-cutting plans, labelling them ‘dangerous’ and saying they ‘could put lives at risk’ - espeically if a problem were to emerge in a crowded town centre home.

He called on the public to oppose the county council’s funding cuts.

He said: “We are especially concerned in Boston, where we have a large number of people living in overcrowded, substandard and unregulated Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).”

Dave Ramscar, chief fire officer for the county’s fire service, said: “We are confident that our proposals will have no significant impact on our ability to protect the public.

“The county council has to find annual savings of £90m and it’s only right the fire service plays its part. However, we will do this in a way that will minimise the impact on front line services.”

The county council declined to issue a separate comment on the matter.

Coun Kenny also criticised the borough council over its handling of HMOs.

Coun Mike Gilbert, portfolio holder for housing, property and community, said the borough council is ‘robustly enforcing’ the legal requirement HMOs. These, by current law, are three-storey properties that are occupied by five or more people forming two or more households.

Coun Gilbert said it would have been ‘very costly’ to ‘good landlords’ and the borough to go on to licence two-storey buildings.

Have your say on the fire service’s plans at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/lincolnshire-fire-and-rescue.