Kent fire service could have to save 'at least £8m'

Fire engine
Image caption Fire engines could be moved to different areas and some appliances could have smaller crews

Kent's fire service will have to make savings of at least £8m over the next four years to balance the books, it has been revealed.

Chief Fire Officer Anne Millington said that was the "likely scenario" but there would be no firefighter redundancies or closure of stations.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said it believed the savings could be higher and has warned of job cuts.

The government grant for 2016-17 is due to be announced before Christmas.

'Service needs to adapt'

Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority chairman Nick Chard said there was still uncertainty but the worst case scenario was as much as £18m.

Mark Simmons, from the FBU, said it would be difficult "to avoid compulsory redundancies" if this figure turned out to be correct.

The service is currently consulting on the plans.

The documents say the service has a natural turnover of 30 firefighters a year and they might not be replaced, and some fire engines might be crewed by three staff although the aim would be four.

Proposals also include moving fire engines to areas where it is harder to get staff cover and where there are high numbers of road crashes.

The plans are based on the service increasing its council tax share by just under 2%.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said fatalities and injuries were down 30% and 55% over the last decade respectively.

"This means the service needs to adapt to meet new demands and to ensure it is continuing to work in the most efficient way."

Consultation runs until 16 January.

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