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Merseyside Fire and Rescue could cut firefighter posts

Ninety-two firefighter posts could be cut on Merseyside as part of plans to reduce a £8.5m budget deficit.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said it was looking at a range of cost-cutting measures, including losing just over 10% of its firefighters.

A spokesman said the deficit was due to a cut in its government grant, added to previous reductions in funding over the past five years.

The plans are due to be discussed at a fire authority meeting on 17 February.

The proposals also include cutting 76 non-uniform staff from a total of 370, a council tax levy increase of 4%, and looking at ways of sharing services with other organisations.

'Given protection'

A fire service spokesman said firefighter posts would be reduced through "natural wastage" and that any cuts would not affect frontline services.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "Driving down the nation's deficit is the government's biggest priority but we have made sure that extra money, powers and funding freedoms are available to protect frontline services and the public from council tax rises.

"As a frontline service, the fire and rescue service has been given some protection within the Spending Review settlement and reductions are back-loaded to give them time to make the necessary changes without affecting the quality and breadth of services they provide to their communities.

"Overall fire and rescue authorities will see a reduction in their revenue spending power, taking into account grants from central government and council tax of 2.2% in 2011-12 and 0.5% in 2012-13."

He said fire services could make savings by sharing back office jobs, join forces to procure, cut out "non-jobs" and cut down on over spends.

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