100 firefighter posts face the axe as brigade faces £350,000 cuts

Fire Credit: .

Around 100 firefighter jobs will be lost at Leicestershire Fire Service over the next four years, ITV News Central can reveal.

The cuts - around 29 per cent of the brigade’s frontline staff - form part of a review into how to make savings of £350,000, which was signed off at a meeting of the fire authority earlier today.

Video report by Charlotte Cross:

Chief fire officer Steven Lunn told ITV Central that the service was working towards having a target of 334 full-time and 255 on-call posts.

Through so-called ‘natural wastage’ - ie people retiring or leaving for other jobs - the service hopes to hit that target by 2020. He said there were around 100 people who would leave through this process.

Asked about the difference between the number of posts currently held and the target figures, he confirmed it represents around 100 whole-time operational posts - a drop of 29 per cent.

As part of the review, bosses will also carry out a management restructure to rid the service of vacant senior posts - and will examine how to make use of their current portfolio of property, to determine whether savings can be made by selling or leasing out buildings.

This includes the new £11 million headquarters in Birstall, which opened just three years ago.

The service also wants to explore whether they can work more closely with neighbouring brigades, possibly sharing specialist equipment such as high-rise platforms.

The new review was drawn up after controversial cost-cutting plans, first revealed last year, were scrapped amid a storm of public protest.

Around 12,000 people signed a petition against what they said was a dangerous level of cuts.

They would have seen two fire stations close, 11 engines retired, and 80 part-time firefighter jobs made redundant.

The service's £11m HQ in Birstall will be under review Credit: ITV News Central

Graham Vaux, from the Fire Brigades Union in Leicestershire, told ITV News Central the new plans were a step up from the previous proposals.

The union will be closely monitoring the changes as they come into effect, he added, and would raise any concerns over safety with management immediately.

Mr Lunn said he believed the plans would help protect frontline services.

The FBU welcomed the review Credit: ITV News Central