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Campaigners march against proposed fire service cuts

Campaigners in Lincoln are to march this weekend in protest to cuts which could be made to fire services in the county.

Campaigners in Lincoln are to march this weekend in protest to cuts which could be made to fire services in the county. Credit: Defend Our Fire Services

The Defend Our Fire Services march will start at St Martin's Square at the top of the High Street on Saturday 31 January from 11.30am.

Our campaign seeks to increase public awareness of how the proposed cuts to our Fire and Rescue services will impact on response times and coverage. The service has already experienced a significant reduction to its funding and consequently a further £1.23 million of cuts will have devastating affects for both fire fighters and the public. The campaign has developed real momentum so far and over 1000 people have already signed our petition. However, we still need many more signatures and we're calling on everyone who values their local fire services to march with us on Saturday.

– Elaine Smith, Defend Our Fire Services spokesperson

The Fire Brigade Union in Lincolnshire have praised the campaign saying it shows the strength of community support for the fire service:

We thank all members of the public who have thrown themselves into this campaign. It shows how strongly the local community feels about cuts to their fire service.

– Dan Taylor

The chief fire officer for Lincolnshire has argued that the proposals will enable the service to save money without reducing the service:

Obviously any reduction to the fire service is regrettable; however, we are confident that the proposals being consulted on allow us to achieve the required savings while having the least impact on the overall level of service provided. Since 2010, we have increased the number of fire engines crewed by whole-time firefighters on a 24 hour basis from two to nine, and on average our on-call firefighters across the county train for an extra hour each week. During this time there has been no reduction in the number of fire engines or fire stations and we have been able to make significant investments in new appliances and equipment, to allow our firefighters to continue to deliver a first class fire and rescue service for Lincolnshire.

– Dave Ramscar, chief fire officer for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue

MPs to join Kellingley rally to push for government support

A host of MPs are to join a rally urging the Government to help extend the life of Kellingley Colliery.

A host of MPs are to join a rally urging the Government to help extend the life of Kellingley Colliery. Credit: Press Association

Yvette Copper MP, Dennis Skinner MP and Ian Lavery MP will march with NUM General Secretary Chris Kitchen and others through Knottingley to the pit entrance from 10.30am today.

It's the latest in an ongoing campaign asking the Government to approve plans which would grant £300 million in state aid to the colliery, saving 8,000 jobs.

We have been fighting for the survival of the British Deep Mined Coal Industry for the last 30 years, we will continue to fight to the last. The UK gets over 30% of its electricity from coal and we must make sure that it is British Deep Mined Coal keeping British Miners in work rather than importing all our coal.

– NUM General Secretary Chris Kitchen

We have now received a plan from the company and will look carefully at their proposal, bearing in mind that we must make sure that taxpayers receive value for money. When we talk about state aid we are referring to taxpayers money and not a separate pot in Brussels that we can dip into. The European Commission considers what support Member States can give to companies but does not provide the funding for that support.

– A Government spokesman

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Lincolnshire PCC suggests tax hike to avoid policing cuts

The police and crime commissioner for Lincolnshire has recommended an almost 2 percent increase in the amount people pay towards the police in their council tax . In turn Alan Hardwick says the force won't have to make job cuts.

It is just a week since the Chief Constable and Mr Hardwick asked the Policing Minister for money from a special grant - because of concerns about the impact Government cutbacks could have on officer numbers.

Kate Hemingway reports:

The Home Office say reforms are working and that crime has fallen under the current Government:

What matters is how officers are deployed, not how many of them there are. HMIC has made clear that there is no simple link between officer numbers and crime levels, the visibility of the police in the community and the quality of service provided. Decisions on the size and composition of a police force’s workforce are for individual chief officers and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs). The Government is already conducting a fundamental review of the way funding is allocated between force areas. This work is ongoing but we will consult with police forces and others in due course.

– Home Office spokesperson

Police Commissioner calls for 7p council tax increase

Keeping up numbers Credit: PA

Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick has confirmed he intends to maintain numbers of police officers and police community support officers at their current levels for a further year.

Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick

In order to achieve this, Mr Hardwick is recommending a council tax precept increase of 1.95%. For the majority of Lincolnshire residents this amounts to no more than 7 pence per week.

Alan Hardwick said: “My proposal ensures I am able to continue to deliver all of the commitments I made in my Police and Crime Plan. Most importantly it means the Chief Constable can deliver what the people of Lincolnshire tell me they want to see. Visible, local policing is the bedrock of policing in Britain and it is essential we do all we can to maintain it in Lincolnshire.”

Maintaining number of bobbies on the beat

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UKIP suspend Yorkshire & Humber MEP

UKIP has suspended Yorkshire and the Humber MEP Amjad Bashir, pending an investigation into "extremely serious financial issues".

Amjad Bashir

The sixty two year old, who moved to Bradford with his family when he was eight , was elected to the European Parliament last year and is UKIP's small and medium business spokesman.

UKIP say they have suspended Mr Bashir while party officials carry out investigations into a number of issues which it considers to be extremely serious.

Mr Bashir has been informed of the specifics of the investigations which include unanswered financial and employment questions, interference with UKIP candidate selection processes and a continued affiliation with Mujeeb Bhutto, despite the party’s protests against Mr Bhutto’s involvement with Mr Bashir or UKIP.

"The UK Independence Party has a zero-tolerance policy and takes the matters at hand extremely seriously.

"The allegations against Mr Bashir are of a grave nature and we will be forwarding our evidence obtained so far to the police.

"UKIP will not tolerate anyone abusing their positions in the party, as we have a firm commitment to differing ourselves from the existing political classes.

"As a result, Mr Bashir’s involvement with the party was suspended today with immediate effect pending further investigations."

– UKIP spokesman

Parking charges set to return to Halifax town centre

Reprieve is over

Motorists will be charged for on street parking in Halifax town centre from February 2nd - after enjoying a four month reprieve.

A new Traffic Regulation Order will allow the Council to reinstate parking charges and enforce all parking restrictions across the 20 streets in the central area of Halifax.

On street parking charges were lifted in the town centre in October 2014, after it became clear that some of the Council’s TROs could not be legally enforced.

Details of the new order will be available to view on streets in the town centre from January 30th and on the council's website.

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