HUNTINGDON fire station should be downgraded if Government cuts exceed the anticipated level, papers published today (Thursday) recommend.

Cambridgeshire Fire Authority documents have been released ahead of a meeting next week to agree a minimum of £4.2million-worth of cuts, including £2.6million from the support service - equal to 30 to 40 "back office" jobs.

However, the Government is currently reviewing how it calculates its spending formula and a negative result could force the local fire service to have to make an additional £1.8million in savings. The review is due to be completed by November of this year but fire bosses have anticipated bad news and made arrangements that will allow for a quicker implementation of the additional cuts.

Those cuts would mean the loss of Huntingdonshire's only 24-hour fire station. Instead of a full-time crew, cover at night would be provided by retained firefighters, which would impact on response times.

The papers state that the authority should "agree that the service should proceed with downgrading Huntingdon fire station to day crewed status."

It adds the caveat that final implementation should not take place unless all other lower level impact cuts have been applied and the financial situation still requires the cuts to be made.

The papers also concede that: "The size of the Government cuts are likely to impact on the ability of the service to deliver its frontline services and will inevitably require a significant reduction in the number of staff employed."

At a fire authority meeting held on Thursday, February 23 the proposals will be considered.

- What do you think to the proposals? Email your opinions to editor@huntspost.co.uk. See next week's The Hunts Post for full coverage of the planned cuts.