Call for insurance companies to step in to stop axe for free Norfolk smoke detectors

A move to stop supplying and fitting free smoke detectors to homes in Norfolk should be put on ice to find other ways of paying for them, councillors have said.

As part of Norfolk County Council's Putting People First consultation, aimed at partially plugging a £189m funding gap, the council is proposing saving £80,000 by no longer supplying and fitting the alarms.

At a meeting of the council's fire and rescue services overview and scrutiny panel today, councillors called for the cut to be put on hold, so alternatives could be explored.

Conservative councillor Nigel Dixon proposed a motion, which was agreed, that the smoke detector cut should be put in abeyance until a working group of councillors had explored other ways of paying for them.

Fellow Conservative Nigel Shaw suggested insurance companies could be approached to see if they might offer money to keep the scheme going.

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And Green councillor Adrian Dearnley said: 'Insurance companies spend thousands sponsoring sporting events and it might be nice for them to do something like this for the community.'

Dan Roper, Liberal Democrat cabinet member for public protection said he would welcome such help. He said: 'I am happy to look at anything that keeps this going, as long as that money does not come from our revenue budget.'

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The fire service would have to make £1.77m savings in 2014/15.

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