A parliamentary candidate has criticised East Sussex Fire Authority for agreeing to spend £200,000 on a new back office team shortly after it voted to cut frontline jobs.
The fire authority voted through a proposal yesterday (Thursday 11 September) to “approve the drawdown of up to £200,000” to establish a “service transformation team”.
The team will be responsible for implementing savings plans which include cutting one of only five fire engines and 24 firefighters in Brighton and Hove.
The team will be made up of existing staff seconded to the team who will be supported by some external fixed-term appointments.
Nancy Platts, the Labour parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown, said: “I am shocked that today councillors on East Sussex Fire Authority voted through a budget of up to £200,000 for a ‘service transformation team’ instead of putting that money towards keeping our fire engine and 24 firefighters in Brighton and Hove.
“We keep being told there is no money so this raises serious questions about why these funds were not made available to maintain frontline services.”
Simon Herbert, who chairs the East Sussex branch of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said: “Firefighters want to offer a professional service to the public but we can only do this if we have sufficient resources.
“Putting scarce funds into yet more back office staff to reorganise our firefighters is wholly inappropriate at a time when we are losing a fire engine and 24 firefighters in Brighton and Hove.”
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