March 12 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Suffolk and Cambridgeshire’s Fire and Rescue Services have officially confirmed that the proposed merger between the two services will not go ahead.
Last week it was revealed that the link-up was set to be delayed indefinitely, and today Suffolk County Council confirmed the news saying that it was “unviable”.
The two authorities had been looking to make significant savings from merging, but although it has been ruled out at this time, the two have said they are committed to exploring other opportunities to work closely together.
They currently share a control room at Huntingdon.
Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for public protection said: “It was important that we fully explored a potential merger to see how we might be able to build on the existing relationship between the two authorities.
“However, I was clear from the outset that we would only continue with plans for a full merger at this time if it was the right thing to do for the people of Suffolk.”
The work identified five reasons that made the merger unviable, including a larger difference between council tax precepts, a lack of absolute assurance of needed significant support from the Department for Communities and Local Government, an inconclusive public consultation, a less significant level of savings than anticipated and a difference in the level of reserves held by the authorities.
Andy Fry, Suffolk chief fire officer said: “We have made significant savings through merging our control rooms and we will continue to try and identify further options to work to together and share resources.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone connected with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service for their ongoing commitment and dedication to protecting the people of Suffolk. “
In December, Suffolk had admitted that the earliest the merger could take place was 2015 – but warned that the following year was more likely.