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Wearside MP raises concerns over firefighter funding

Debating the cuts Photo: ITV

A North East MP has used a debate in Parliament to highlight what she says is the severe impact of cuts on our most urban fire services.

Bridget Phillipson led the debate, arguing that fire services in the UK's metropolitan districts are being unfairly penalised.

Ms Phillipson told MPs that 68 firefighting posts have been lost in Tyne and Wear since the cuts began two years ago and a recruitment freeze was also introduced. She said the service faces more cutbacks and claimed savings were being made at the expense of public safety.

The MP for Houghton and Sunderland South paid tribute to firefighters across Tyne and Wear, who 'take risks on our behalf' and called for what she described as fairer funding settlement across the country.

Responding to the debate was the Department for Communities and Local Government Minister Mark Prisk. He said the government was commited to securing frontline fire and rescue services and said decisions on where to cut costs were being made at a local, rather than a national level.

Mr Prisk said the cuts come at a time when the number of fires and deaths from fires is falling. He told MPs there were ways for fire and rescue services to make savings and promised the govenrment would listen to all comments before final decisions are made.