Shaun’s ultimatum

Shaun Woodward
Shaun Woodward

ST Helens MP Shaun Woodward (pictured) has implored the Government’s Fire Minister not to sanction further cuts to the local fire service.

The MP for St Helens South and Whiston told Bob Neill that the cuts have already gone “too far” and that any more could put lives at risk.

He also urged the Fire Minister to ask Merseyside’s chief fire officer for an urgent risk assessment before making any further funding cuts.

Mr Woodward said: “The Government needs to think again about plans to close fire stations and cut jobs in the fire service. The formula being used by the Government will take huge risks.

“More cuts will make this a catastrophe waiting to happen.”

Mr Woodward’s warning comes amid claims that a second wave of fire service funding cuts would lead to “a tragedy” - with Eccleston Fire Station previously singled out by fire bosses as being at risk of closure.

The Merseyside Fire Authority already has £9m worth of budget cuts to cope with by 2013 and is expected to be asked to save a further £8.5m from 2013 to 2015.

Fire chiefs named Eccleston on list of five stations at risk of closure because of budget cuts.

Chief fire officer Dan Stephens said: “The authority and myself are lobbying the Government against the proposed cuts. Merseyside was cut at twice the national average.”