Fire service merger: No decision by Wiltshire councillors until autumn

Will Wiltshire and Dorset fire service merge?

Will Wiltshire and Dorset fire service merge?

First published in News by , Senior reporter for Trowbridge

A decision on whether to back the merger of the county’s fire service with the Dorset service will not be made by Wiltshire Council until the autumn.

Councillors heard a presentation by the service’s new chairman Chris Devine on Tuesday. Cllr Devine took over as chairman of the Wiltshire and Swindon Fire Authority after the resignation of Trowbridge councillor Graham Payne, who claimed he had lost the support of the board.

The money-saving merger is one of three options outlined in a consultation, launched on July 21 to give people a say on the future of the fire service in Wiltshire.

The other two involve the services remaining separate and working more closely with Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council and other 999 services.

Cllr Devine said: “We face difficult financial times ahead that result from cuts to our central Government grant.

"We have cut back on everything apart from the operational services and we have reached the point where there is nothing else left to cut. Yet over the next two years the Government have said we can expect future cuts.

“We started with seven options and got that down to three, and are asking the people of Wiltshire what they think.”

Following the presentation, Cllrs Jeff Osborn and Terry Chivers put forward a motion asking the council to declare its support for the merger. However, the council decided to defer discussing this until its next full meeting on October 21: the consultation period ends on October 20.

To find out more about the consultation, visit www.wiltsfire.gov.uk/strengtheningourfrs

Comments (4)

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11:50pm Fri 1 Aug 14

chippenhamgedd says...

Wonder if the Brigade have thought to think out of the box and get someone completely different to come in and see what can be cut / changed?
Wonder if the Brigade have thought to think out of the box and get someone completely different to come in and see what can be cut / changed? chippenhamgedd
  • Score: 6

8:10am Sat 2 Aug 14

lokalgirl says...

Should have listened to Graham Payne.....
Should have listened to Graham Payne..... lokalgirl
  • Score: 9

6:41pm Sat 2 Aug 14

brandx says...

The coalition government's austerity attack on the public sector is what is driving this process. In the next two years Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has to cut £3.9 million from its budget. The Fire Service has shown its figures to all Wiltshire MPs and Wiltshire and Swindon councils.

The figures clearly indicate that only a merger with Dorset Fire Service can deliver the required amount of "savings". All the Wiltshire MPs agree, apart from James Gray. He and his north Wiltshire friends - Jane Scott, John Thomson and it seems Jon Hubbard - disagree. For some reason they think Wiltshire Council can do the Fire Service back office work, but that will only save around £700,000. Where the rest will come from they just don't say.

All this was closely debated at County Hall last Tuesday, but Jane Scott got the Conservatives and some Lib Dems to put off the evil day and delay a vote on backing the merger. I can only think that for some reason they are in denial and will not face up to the obvious. Or perhaps they want fire stations in Wiltshire to close and fire cover to be put at risk.

Graham Payne did the right thing in pointing this out. It seems that he will pay the price by displeasing Jane Scott and being kicked off the Fire Authority and out of the Conservative Party.

Still he is right. Local people should back the merger.
The coalition government's austerity attack on the public sector is what is driving this process. In the next two years Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has to cut £3.9 million from its budget. The Fire Service has shown its figures to all Wiltshire MPs and Wiltshire and Swindon councils. The figures clearly indicate that only a merger with Dorset Fire Service can deliver the required amount of "savings". All the Wiltshire MPs agree, apart from James Gray. He and his north Wiltshire friends - Jane Scott, John Thomson and it seems Jon Hubbard - disagree. For some reason they think Wiltshire Council can do the Fire Service back office work, but that will only save around £700,000. Where the rest will come from they just don't say. All this was closely debated at County Hall last Tuesday, but Jane Scott got the Conservatives and some Lib Dems to put off the evil day and delay a vote on backing the merger. I can only think that for some reason they are in denial and will not face up to the obvious. Or perhaps they want fire stations in Wiltshire to close and fire cover to be put at risk. Graham Payne did the right thing in pointing this out. It seems that he will pay the price by displeasing Jane Scott and being kicked off the Fire Authority and out of the Conservative Party. Still he is right. Local people should back the merger. brandx
  • Score: 5

7:50am Mon 4 Aug 14

lokalgirl says...

Should have listened to Graham Payne.........
Should have listened to Graham Payne......... lokalgirl
  • Score: 2

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