Northumbria Police says more than four hundred staff jobs will go - including two hundred police officers - and a number of stations are to close. It's part of a bid to save nearly fifty million pounds after cuts to its budget. The force insists public safety wont be affected. Dan Ashby reports.
The Fire Minister Brandon Lewis has released a statement after a report by the Local Government Association said that community safety schemes, like fitting free smoke alarms, could could come under threat if proposed budget cuts are implemented to fire brigades.
"This is crude lobbying by the LGA based on completely fictitious figures. Funding for fire and rescue authorities for the next two years was outlined in January and any speculation about future funding is purely that.
"Fire and rescue authorities deliver an incredibly important service for local communities. That is why spending for fire and rescue authorities, like other blue light services, has been protected."
– Fire Minister Brandon Lewis
"But every bit of the public sector needs to play its part to cut the deficit.
"There is significant scope for fire and rescue authorities to make sensible savings, such as through reforms to flexible staffing and crewing arrangements, better procurement, shared services including sharing of senior staff and operational collaborations."