Ministers blocked moves to save cash, says MP
MINISTERS have been accused by a Plymouth MP of blocking cash-saving moves by the "cuts ravaged" fire service.
Alison Seabeck for Plymouth Moor View challenged the Government over rejecting cost-cutting plans by Devon and Somerset to buy smaller fire engines.
While Fire Minister Brandon Lewis has initially seemed impressed by the proposed measures during a recent visit to Taunton, Ms Seabeck accused him of having a subsequent change of heart.
Speaking in the Commons, Ms Seabeck said: "On December 6, during a visit to Taunton, the Minister seemed impressed by Devon and Somerset fire service's plan to make significant – I repeat, significant – savings through efficiencies and lower fuel costs by purchasing light rescue pumps. Yet, when push came to shove, the fire service, ravaged by cuts and trying to find innovative ways to reduce costs, was told, 'Sorry, no, you can't have those pumps'. Why did he change his mind in the space of a few weeks?"
Responding, Mr Lewis said: "I had a very good visit to Somerset and saw some of the plans that people have for how they want to take things forward to save money, which is exactly what many fire authorities across the country should be looking at.
"It is also why Devon and Somerset will be receiving £2.7million of capital money in 2013-15."