Cambridgeshire fire cuts could be postponed

Cuts to Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service which would see new shift patterns for firefighters and Wisbech fire station converted to retained status could be postponed.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority is being asked to put off 'key decisions' when it meets at Huntingdon on Thursday.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Strickland said: 'At the moment we don't know if we need to make �4.2 million or closer to �6 million worth of cuts.

'We have already identified how we can save �4.2 million and this was approved by the Fire Authority last May.

'We are confident that these decisions will not affect the level of service provided by CFRS to members of the public and we are now in the process of delivering these savings which

has given us some breathing space.

'However, as we have always said, if the figure is nearer �6 million, the Fire

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Authority will have to make some difficult decisions. Decisions that will impact

on the public.

'We believe it's only right that we make key decisions which impact on the level of service to the public when we have an accurate picture of the financial

situation, and not before.'

The financial picture is unclear because the fire service does not yet know how much it will receive from central government next year.

Inflation and the council tax base

growth rate - the number of people expected to move to Cambridgeshire, so increasing the amount that the fire service receives in council tax - are also unclear.

Stations such as Wisbech and Huntingdon would either be crewed during the day or by retained firefighters under the cuts proposed.

Fire chiefs are also considering whether to scrap appliances at a number of rural stations, including Thorney, Soham and Swaffham Bullbeck.