Shropshire fire chief warns over further £1.3m cuts

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The chief fire officer for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, Paul Raymond, says front line services are likely to be hit by another £1.3m of cuts.

About £3m has already been cut from its £20m annual budget and 60 posts will have closed by 2014.

Mr Raymond said £1m was equivalent to the cost of running 10 fire stations and the county has 23 in total.

He said: "We were facing a difficult challenge... but the extra £1m adds significantly to that challenge."

He added: "I will be advising elected members of the Fire Authority to begin consultation in the spring to give us enough time to make these difficult reductions."

Members of the public are also to be asked if they are prepared to pay more in council tax to maintain services.

Deputy chief fire officer John Redmond said: "We are all about providing a service, but we will have to look at how we deliver that in light of the funding and cut our cloth accordingly.

"It's too early to say what the impact will be exactly and we are extremely keen to keep the level of cover we have, had but it depends on how the reduction will affect us."

The service has already made a 10 per cent reduction in firefighters and support staff, and a 25 per cent reduction in senior officers.

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