Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

May 08, 2011 12:29 ET

Fire Union Outrage as Cumbria Fire Chief Says-Give Me Northumberland, Give Me a Pay Rise and Let's Push Through Service Cuts

NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - May 8, 2011) - The Fire Brigade Union has attacked a report which proposes giving the Northumberland fire service to Cumbria chief fire officer to run, giving him a pay rise and pushing through cuts. The report containing the proposals goes to the Northumberland County Council Executive on 9 May and was written by Cumbria chief fire officer Dominic Harrison.

Northumberland FBU said it was outrageous the author of a report should put forward proposals which includes options and proposals from which he would gain financially if they were approved. The union warned that other senior fire service managers would also want to cash in if the proposals go forward.

The Fire Brigade Union warned that none of the range of options, which includes full-blown merger, have any clear evidence of benefits or improvements. While savings are mentioned there are no figures or evidence to support them.

It warned that merging Cumbria and Northumberland would mean the county council losing responsibility for the fire service. Northumberland council tax payers could also pay more of the costs and be paying taxation with less accountability and control in return.

The union said the report was "business case lite" with little detail of benefits, risks or costs. What is clear is there would be job cuts and less of a fire service in both counties.

Pete Wilcox, FBU Regional Secretary, said: "The Cumbria chief fire officer has a simple proposition: give him Northumberland fire service to run and give him more money for doing it. In our view it is blatant and outrageous.

"If most of the proposals put forward are agreed the council tax payers of Northumberland will be subsidising Cumbria. No evidence has been produced to substantiate the claims of greater efficiency and value for money.

"Senior managers will be available for less time to serve the people of Northumberland whilst being paid more. The people of Northumberland and their firefighters will not be safer as a result of these proposals and deserve better.

"There is nothing in this report for anyone in Northumberland. But the author, in Cumbria, would financially gain personally if this goes ahead and any joint senior management team would want to make a case for the same treatment.

"What is on offer at the end of this is a cut back fire service, with less control and accountability. But the senior managers would be paid more.

"Northumberland County Council must look at this and throw it out before more time and money is wasted. The last thing we want is money being shelled out to the inevitable management consultants if this report goes forward."

Contact Information

  • Andy Noble
    FBU Executive Council Members

    Pete Wilcox
    FBU Regional Secretary

    Kieran Brennan
    Northumberland FBU Brigade Secretary