YEP Says, May 23: Some burning questions over fire spending

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FIRE chiefs in West Yorkshire have been vocal about government cuts to their funding which they say will reduce the level of service they can provide.

FIRE chiefs in West Yorkshire have been vocal about government cuts to their funding which they say will reduce the level of service they can provide.

Up to now, public feeling has largely been with them.

However, sympathy may be in much shorter supply in the wake of the revelations in this newspaper today in terms of the spending habits of some members of the fire service.

Spending on restaurants, hotels and adverts has seen West Yorkshire Fire Service rack up a phenomenal amount of cash on its credit card bill in the past 12 months.

Regular cash withdrawals of up to £500 have been made on credit cards which have also been used to spend over £7,000 on trips to France and a series of restaurant bills each topping £200.

Officials say some of the spending was linked to firefighters attending incidents outside their local area, but no other fire service in Yorkshire used their cards for cash despite attending the same emergencies.

It raises questions about the accountability and oversight provided by senior figures.

The public have a right to expect restraint when it comes to how their money is spent – especially when the men and women on the front line of the organisation whose job it is to protect them are facing cutbacks and station closures.

Milner’s lesson for youngsters

ENSURING children from a range of backgrounds are given the same opportunities in life is far from straightforward.

Yet the Leeds Children’s University is surely a step in the right direction. Launched six months ago, it provides exciting and innovative learning activities and experiences to city school pupils. It aims to broaden their horizons and inspire them to great things.

As such, England star James Milner makes an ideal Chancellor. A Leeds lad, he has made the most of his talents and serves as a great role model in terms of the rewards that can come from application, hard work and a healthy dose of self-belief.