The Fire Brigades Union has confirmed that strikes will take place between:
- 7pm and midnight on Tuesday 24th December
- 6.30pm on Tuesday 31st December and 12.30am on Wednesday 1st January
- 6.30am and 8.30am on Friday 3rd January
Firefighters in England and Wales will stage fresh strikes on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and January 3 in their long-running row with the Government over pensions, the Fire Brigades Union announced today.
A planned five-hour strike tomorrow by firefighters in England and Wales has been called off after progress in talks over pensions, said the Fire Brigades Union.
The fire and rescue service in England needs to be "transformed" to become more efficient, according to an independent report commissioned by the Government.
Sir Ken Knight, the former chief fire and rescue adviser behind the review, believes that a 40 per cent drop in incidents over the last decade means the service needs to adapt.
But the Fire Brigades Union said his recommendations are a cover for more cuts.
Tom Savvides reports:
Sir Ken Knight, former chief Fire and Rescue adviser for England who carried out an independent report on the services, told ITV's Daybreak that his review was a "good news story."
He said: "Why is it that one fire service can cost twice as much as another, even though if, per head of population ... it's in a very similar area?
"If those above the average cost just as much as the average, which provide really good fire services, there is £200 million to be saved.
"So it's right that these questions are asked, and that it's answered and debated by the fire and rescue service leaders themselves."
General secretary of the Fire Brigades Union Matt Wrack said the independent review into the services was "just a fig leaf for slashing our fire and rescue service to bits".
Sir Ken Knight, former chief Fire and Rescue adviser for England who carried out an independent report on the services, said "much more can be done" to improve efficiency.
He said: "As a firefighter for over 40 years I know the Fire and Rescue Service in and out. I know firefighters care deeply about public safety and do the best possible job.
"I've seen their capacity to adapt, even in the most trying of circumstances, but my report highlights that there is much more that can be done by the service leaders to make the service as effective and efficient as possible.
"My starting point was to maintain the quality of the service and to protect the safety of the public and firefighters. As I carried out this review I spoke with many services and found that there is widespread variation in the running costs and management decisions.
This presents a real opportunity to get to grips with what is happening and to save public money. Government and the 46 fire and rescue authorities should use it to decide how to transform the service to reflect the modern and safer world we live in today."
England's fire and rescue services could save £200 million a year if they were more efficient, according to a report.
There has been a 40% reduction in call outs and incidents in the last decade and accidental deaths from fires in homes have reached an all time low, yet expenditure and fire-fighter numbers have remained broadly the same.
Services continue to spend according to the budget they are given rather than the risks they have to manage, the independent report by Sir Ken Knight, former chief Fire and Rescue adviser for England, suggested.
There are significant variations between how the 46 different fire authorities operate, with the cost per head of providing a service almost double in some areas to that of others, the report said.