MP urges rethink on fire service plans

Shop Watch, 'MP Toby Perkins

Shop Watch, 'MP Toby Perkins

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Chesterfield’s MP has voiced fears that lives could be lost if controversial plans to shake up the county’s fire service go ahead.

During a debate in the House of Commons on Monday night, Toby Perkins called on Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) to rethink its contentious proposals.

The cost-cutting plans would see 78 full-time firefighters lose their jobs and the closure of 19 stations across the county – including in towns like Dronfield and Matlock.

Mr Perkins told Westminster: “The impact on Derbyshire is stark.

“The proposals are illogical and will increase the likelihood of loss of life.

“The people of Derbyshire and our heroes in the fire service deserve better than the cuts imposed upon them by this Government.

“DFRS should rethink its plans,” he added.

A spokesman for DFRS thanked Mr Perkins for debating the proposals.

He said that the organisation faces a 40 per cent reduction in its budget as a result of Government cuts and added: “It will not be possible to provide the same level of service that has been given historically and we continue to openly communicate that communities within Derbyshire will need to accept that we will deliver less because we will have less.

“Given such reductions in funding, it is not possible to deliver the full range of services in the manner we have provided in the past.”

The Fire Brigades’ Union said it had “deep concerns” about the plans and voiced fears over slower response times

DFRS is currently holding talks on the proposals.

A public consultation event will take place in Chesterfield Market Place between 9.30am and 4pm on Thursday.

• Log on to www.derbys-fire.gov.uk by December 23 to have your say on the plans.