Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Plans to cut Hampshire's fire service revised to £4.1m

Chief Fire Officer Dave Curry
Image caption Chief Fire Officer Dave Curry said that original plans to save £5m by 2020 were altered after a public consultation

More than 200 firefighters could lose their jobs despite revised budget cut proposals.

Last year, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service announced plans to save £5m by 2020 and cut more than 300 posts in a bid to tackle its £12m deficit.

But after a public consultation fire chiefs have scaled down cuts to £4.1m.

The number of full-sized fire engines will still be reduced from 76 to 25, with smaller "intermediate and first response" vehicles replacing them.

'Adjusted original proposals'

Original plans would have seen 86 full-time firefighters and 225 retained staff - firefighters who only respond to emergency calls - lose their jobs.

But now only 60 full-time and 152 retained posts could be lost.

Chief fire officer Dave Curry said: "We're in a financial position where we can actually make adjustments to our original proposals."

Investing in new equipment which requires less maintenance and fewer staff is part of the plans.

What the cuts could mean

Image caption Almost 50 large fire engines could be replaced by smaller first response vehicles which can be manned by two firefighters
  • At least 60 full-time firefighters and 152 retained staff could lose their jobs.
  • Hampshire Fire and Rescue will be left with 507 retained firefighters and 516 full-time staff.
  • The number of full-size fire engines will be reduced from 76 to 25.
  • The fire engines will be replaced by 50 "intermediate and first response" vehicles, which can be manned by only two crew.
  • Four towns will retain full-time overnight fire cover. Those are Andover, Winchester, Havant and Gosport.

The Fire Brigades Union has welcomed the reformed proposals but has asked for Hampshire Fire and Rescue to ensure a minimum of four firefighters are on each fire engine.

Mr Curry added: "We do need to save substantial amounts of money, the same as any public service."

The cuts need to be approved by the Fire Authority before they can be implemented.

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