Scotland politics

Alasdair Hay named as new chief for merged Scottish fire service

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Media captionThe new fire and rescue service is due to be operational by April next year

The acting chief fire officer of Tayside has been appointed to run Scotland's new national fire and rescue service.

Alasdair Hay will begin work on merging the existing eight regional brigades by April next year.

Ministers believe it will help save millions of pounds but unions have warned jobs will be lost.

Mr Hay will take charge of a staff of 9,000, based at an interim headquarters at Perth Community Fire Station.

The merger of fire and rescue services was brought forward by the Scottish government and approved by parliament as a measure to save cash while protecting frontline services.

My Hay, who is expected to start his £165,000-a-year job in the autumn, said: "I am honoured to take this unique opportunity to shape and deliver the new single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

"It will allow us to sustain and improve the local services communities in all parts of Scotland depend on, to build on success and do more."

Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham added: "Mr Hay has the experience and attributes to be an outstanding first chief officer for the new single service.

"He has passion for the service and genuine commitment for the successful delivery of the new single structure.

"I am confident he will work closely and constructively with the board and all other partners to ensure the continued delivery of excellent fire and rescue services in communities right in all parts of Scotland."

The merged fire service will bring together:

  • Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service
  • Grampian Fire and Rescue Service
  • Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service
  • Tayside Fire and Rescue Service
  • Fife Fire and Rescue Service
  • Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service
  • Strathclyde Fire and Rescue
  • Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service.

Ministers said the merger, along with a similar plan to create a single, national police force for Scotland, would save an estimated £1.7bn over 15 years.

The government said Mr Hay got the job against an "extremely strong field of candidates", through a process which involved an interview panel making recommendations to ministers.

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