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CUTS WILL PUT PUBLIC IN DANGER ACC WARNS

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Public safety will be jeopardised by government plans to slash civil defence grant next year, the Association of Co...
Public safety will be jeopardised by government plans to slash civil defence grant next year, the Association of County Councils warned this week.

The ACC has published a 'table of shame' showing the impact of cuts worth 5% in real terms in 1997-98. The association insists that disaster preparations will suffer as local authorities are forced to curtail training programmes and pare down emergency exercises.

Councils now receive about 30% less for civil defence than they did in 1991. Government grant for England and Wales is £14.9 million this year, down from £22.4m five years ago.

New unitaries will receive just £35,000 each to cope with their new civil defence responsibilities. The three biggest county civil defence authorities, Essex, Kent and Lancashire, will each see their grants cut from £336,000 to £329,280 under the proposed allocation for 1997-98.

The ACC is pressing for a standstill budget.

Mick Warner, the association's fire and emergency planning chair, said: 'It is a sad state of affairs when the government puts less money into public protection than Newcastle United paid for one footballer.'

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