Sarah questions minister on firefighter cuts

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Following a meeting with the Fire Service Union Sarah asked for the Ministers re-assurance on issues raised at the meeting. Please see extract from Hansard below: Sarah Champion (Rotherham) What assessment he has made of the effect of spending reductions in each fire and rescue service area?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Brandon Lewis): Fire and rescue authorities have been protected by back-loading grant reductions into years 3 and 4 of the spending review period. That has provided time to meet the reductions without impacting on the quality of local services. There is scope for fire and rescue authorities to make sensible savings.

Sarah Champion: In South Yorkshire, we are losing 140 firefighters, and we are currently advertising for contract part-time reservists, not full-timers. Will the Minister assure us that these actions and the restrictions on growth will not affect response times, which could put lives at risk?

Brandon Lewis: As I am sure the hon. Lady will appreciate, local response times and decision making over local things like that are a matter for the local fire service. I am pleased to say, however, that the fire service has been protected; indeed, South Yorkshire will receive an extra £2.4 million in capital funding.