Firefighters protest about £5.75m budget cuts and the loss of 114 jobs at Cleveland Fire Brigade

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Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

ANGRY firefighters protested outside their brigade headquarters as the approval for savage job and spending cuts were approved.

Cleveland Fire Brigade Authority met today (Friday, March 7) to agree plans to close Marine fire station and cut 114 full-time firefighter jobs in a bid to save £5.75m.

Ahead of the meeting, 130 firefighters and their supporters demonstrated outside the meeting and lobbied councillors to protect fire services from the cuts.

Davy Howe, Fire Brigades Union secretary for Cleveland, said: “Local firefighters are deeply upset, angry and frustrated by this decision which we believe will put lives at risk.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions that need addressing, and this is not the end of our campaign to put public and firefighter safety first.

“We will leave no stone unturned in our ongoing fight against these cuts.”

More than 70 firefighters were allowed into the meeting, with Mr Howe making an appeal to the authority to consider the alternative proposals the FBU had put forward and retract the cuts.

The fire authority made some changes to their original proposals but as a result of the spending cuts the service will rely more on part-time retained firefighters and fire engines.

Cleveland Fire Authority had produced a plan showing how it intends to manage the risks faced by the community in light of multi-million pound Government cuts over the next four years – a 20 per cent budget cut.

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