Following the announcement of the Local Government Finance Settlement on Monday, West Midlands Fire Service says it has been hit the hardest with a reduction of 9.5 per cent in formula grant funding for the year 2011/12, and 3.40 per cent for the year 2012/13.

Chief Fire Officer Vij Randeniya said: "This is a significant reduction in our operating budget in the first two years, with cuts in years three and four still unknown. I am surprised and disappointed at the extent of the cuts which are higher than initial indications. These unexpectedly high reductions mean it will be very difficult for us to maintain the same levels of service.

"It is also clear that the cuts are not equally applied across all fire and rescue services and that the total budget of some fire authorities - including some of our neighbouring ones - will actually increase.

"We will be asking all unions and staff to work hard with us over the coming weeks and months in order to effectively manage these cuts and get the best possible outcomes for our communities."

West Midlands Fire Service has started a programme of reform to identify efficiency savings across the brigade but with the cuts being higher than expected, a second public consultation is likely in 2011.


Posted December 17th.