West Yorkshire ‘picked on’ with lowest fire cash handout

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West Yorkshire Fire Service gets less government cash to spend per head of population than any other metropolitan district brigade in the country.

It is also at the bottom of the league table on what it does spend.

Members of the authority instructed staff to investigate where Yorkshire stood in terms of Government grant and actual spending compared to the other five metropolitan district fire authorities – Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear and West Midlands.

The results will be presented at a meeting of West Yorkshire fire authority.

At the top of the metropolitan spending league is Merseyside at £51.19p per head of population on its fire service. West Yorkshire spends just £38.32.

Merseyside receives £31.04p per head, in government grant, while West Yorkshire gets £22.94 – more than one-third less.

West Yorkshire faces £18m in cuts between now and 2015 and is closing fire stations and axeing hundreds of front-line firefighters jobs through retirement and natural wastage.

The fire authority is made up of councillors from the county’s five district councils – Leeds, Wakefield, Kirklees, Bradford and Calderdale.

Coun Andrea McKenna (Labour, Garforth & Swillington), who speaks for Leeds, said: “You do not have to be a genius to work out what is going on. We are being picked on.”

West Yorkshire faces a cut of more than 10 per cent, while Hampshire, Essex, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Dorset, and the brigade of Devon and Somerset, have had their budgets increased. The six metropolitan districts suffer the highest levels of deprivation in the country – the biggest single determining factor for fire risk.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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