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NORTHERN FIRE SERVICE IN CASH CRISIS

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Tyne and Wear Fire Authority chiefs say the price of providing cover for more than a million people next year will ...
Tyne and Wear Fire Authority chiefs say the price of providing cover for more than a million people next year will be o41.8m - more than o3m above its limit. The Journal (30 Sept, p12) reported that the forecast comes months after authority members agreed to slash o1.7m from their budget and find nearly o1m from cash reserves to cover the service's o38.5m bill this year.

Chief fire officer Richard Bull is quoted: 'Balances have been drastically reduced and are at a level which, given present budgetary control policies, requirements for flexibility and a sum for emergencies, are at a level which is considered the minimum consistent with prudence.'

Sunderland South MP Chris Mullin, chairman of the parliamentary home affairs select committee, has agreed to arrange a meeting with local government minister Hilary Armstrong next month. Councillors will appeal for more spending powers and hope for a sympathetic hearing.
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