Public have their say on Cambs fire cuts

FIREFIGHTERS have reported an “overwhelmingly positive” response to an unofficial public consultation on possible cuts to frontline fire services.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the Save Cambs Fire campaign groups were on the streets of Huntingdon and other towns across the county on Saturday, polling the public’s opinion on a rise in Council Tax precept.

A total of 307 people were polled in Huntingdon High Street, with firefighters also talking to the public in Cambridge, Peterborough, Ely, Soham and Manea.

Passers-by were asked to fill in a four-question form asking them if they were satisfied with the service provided by the fire service, if they thought it offered value for money, whether the fire authority should investigate alternatives to frontline cuts, and if they would tolerate a Council Tax precept increase.

Firefighters in Huntingdon said the response to each question had been “overwhelmingly positive”, with around 99 per cent of people in support of the union’s position.

The FBU was due to meet last night (Tuesday) to collate the county-wide results, which will be released next week ahead of the fire authority meeting on October 13.

Authority members will decide at that meeting how to progress with a number of money-saving measures that could hit the front line.

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Kevin Napier, FBU secretary for Cambridgeshire, said: “By all accounts Saturday went very well and the questionnaire was very well received. We will be collating all the results from across Cambridgeshire and preparing the figures to present to the fire authority.”

The FBU says that raising the Council Tax precept to the maximum permitted would add four pence a year to a Band D bill, and give the fire service an additional �150,000 a year for the next four years.