In my last column before Christmas let me wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. As we settle down to the festivities spare a thought for the emergency services who are working through to keep us safe and well. And as their lines get thinner it’s cuts to Tyne and Wear Fire Service which made the headlines in Parliament.

The Fire Authority is preparing changes to the Integrated Risk Management Plan. One of the local options is for engines at Wallsend to become day crewed (On Call) with support during the night by a second appliance from Tynemouth. Tackling fires is not just about the speed of response, it’s about the weight of response. For a domestic fire involving people at least three appliances will be called out. Domestic fire related deaths had become rare but earlier cuts have changed that. Furthermore on the Fire Authorities own figures 70 fire fighter jobs will go leaving less time for fire prevention work.

At the heart of this is year on year cuts since 2010 which even the Fire Minister conceded hit our area hardest and further cuts may push them to the brink. It’s not too late for a Scrooge like conversion by the Government, nor is it too late for you to have your say in the consultation – at – which ends on 14th January.

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