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4 October 2012, 12:06
Cambridgshire's Fire Authority say they'll meet next week - Thursday 11th October - to decide whether or not to press ahead with merger plans.
A decision will take place at next Thursday's Fire Authority meeting on whether to continue to pursue the proposal to work more closely or merge Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority with a neighbouring fire and rescue service.
Over the summer months, work has been ongoing at both Cambridgeshire and Suffolk fire and rescue services’ to gather information with the aim of finding out if further collaboration, up to a full merger, would be viable. Both services made the decision to explore further collaboration earlier in the year in order to preserve the frontline from future budget cuts in the next Comprehensive Spending Review in 2015.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority members will be asked to note the progress which has currently been made and asked if they approve the recommendation for a full business case to be completed.
Graham Stagg, Chief Fire Officer for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service told Heart: “As you can appreciate, there is still a lot of work to be completed on this to understand the financial situation fully and we believe this work should be completed before a final decision can be made. The Service and its Fire Authority are committed to protecting the interests of its staff and public and will only recommend further collaboration, up to a full merger, if it is the right choice for Cambridgeshire.”
Fred Brown, Chairman of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority said: “We know that further budget cuts after 2015 are very likely. Therefore it is sensible for us to look at collaborating further with another fire service or even merging services. Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has already successfully combined its control room with Suffolk’s and so further collaboration of some scale is a natural choice.”
Andy Fry, Suffolk’s Chief Fire Officer said: “We will be guided by our core principles, which will be to explore opportunities for sharing resources, on a fair and equitable basis, as a means of protecting front line fire and rescue services and minimising the financial impact of doing so on taxpayers in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. This is a real opportunity to adapt to the changing economic and environmental circumstances, which stands to provide some protection to both services and frontline jobs alike.”