'Despite government financial cuts, the fire service has once again proven that it provides excellent value for money,' said Mick Warner, the association's fire and emergency planning chairman. 'But,' he warned, 'it will be extremely difficult for brigades to continue improving their performance if the government keeps cutting their funding.
'The £70m gap between what brigades needed to spend this year and the funding increase provided for by the government could, unfortunately, mean future performance figures do not show an improvement because brigades have had to make cutbacks.
'First and foremost the fire service is dedicated to saving lives and property. It wants to continue improving its performance. But there is only so much it can do if the government does not back up brigades with adequate funding.'