Suffolk looks towards fire merger with Cambridgeshire

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Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet today agreed to move forward with proposals for a shared fire service with Cambridgeshire.

The cabinet agreed to persue two options, one would be to continue to work closely with Cambridgeshire Fire Service, the other would be to merge with Cambridgeshire.

Consultation into the proposals will begin on Monday October 22 and last until January 14.

A future merger of the two services would include sharing support services such as IT and human resources and operating under a single management team across the two counties.

A decision on whether to go ahead with a merger would not be taken until the New Year when the council will consider a full business case and feedback from the public.

Councillor Colin Spence, cabinet member for public protection, said: With the increasing challenge to deliver budget savings and maintain a fire service that people value, at a time when further cuts are likely, it is crucial that we look at ways to work together to safeguard the service for the future.

“We have already identified significant savings to our annual budget which have minimised cuts to the front line service, which means everything from fire fighter jobs to fire stations around the county.

“However with the second Comprehensive Spending Review around the corner, and other likely cost pressures, we have no alternative but to consider every option, and greater collaboration through to a merger with Cambridgeshire offers considerable potential benefits.”