Shropshire fire service 'must cut extra £1.6m'

Fire stations could shut and firefighters could be made redundant in Shropshire after managers revealed they had to save an extra £1.6m.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service said it was also examining a possible merger with a neighbouring brigade among a list of 50 options.

Chief fire officer Paul Raymond said front-line services would have to be cut to deal with the shortfall.

The service has already saved £3.2m from its £20m annual budget.

'Going to hurt'

Mr Raymond said: "If we look back to 2009, the service costs around about £20m a year to operate and we've already had to take out £3m a year operating costs out of that due to the cuts.

"Now we're projecting forward to 2019-2020 and we realise that we'd have to take a further £1.5m to £1.6m out."

He said that taking out £3m was "achievable", but that the extra cuts were "really going to hurt".

There has been a 10% cut in firefighters and support staff and a 25% reduction in senior officers since 2009.

Staff are being asked for their "honest views" on the risk and impact of the proposed cuts.

Mr Raymond said that some of the other proposals include removing fire engines from Telford or Shrewsbury and closing up to four retained fire stations.

Consultations will be held with the public before final cost-cutting decisions are made next year, he added.

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