North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has been hit by almost £2 million in cuts in 4 years

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, who has been battling floods this week, has been hit by almost £2 million in cuts over the past four years.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 9:42 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 10:26 am

Figures have revealed the extent of cuts suffered by the rescue service, as the fire department once again is set to deal with flooding this weekend.

Almost £2 million (£1.8m) in annual funding has been cut by the government for fire and rescue services in North Yorkshire since 2016, according to the Fire Brigades union.

North Yorkshire Fire Service has taken the biggest hit of the four services in Yorkshire and the Humber, with a 17.4 per cent cut to its annual funding between 2016-2017 and 2020-2021.

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The news comes as the region is affected once again this week by floods in the wake of Storm Ciara, and again from Storm Dennis.

Rivers Calder and Ouse burst their banks following torrential levels of rainfall on Sunday, while damage has also been caused from fallen debris and to homes and businesses.

Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, which has seen some of the worst-hit areas for flooding, has had £4.8m (11.2 per cent) cut from its annual funding in the same period.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, which saw devastation from flooding in November last year, has also seen £3m (11.2 per cent) slashed from its annual budget since 2016.

Although Westminster funding has increased by 1.6 per cent for the year ahead, the FBU says this is "almost entirely negated by inflation".

Matt Wrack, General Secretary for the FBU, said: "Firefighters are facing a battering from the weather, but years of relentless cuts have undermined our ability to handle major weather events like Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis.

"We keep getting told that these are 'once in a generation' or once in a century' events – well, we were told that just three months ago when floods hit in November. Climate change is only going to make things worse, but funding for those on the frontline has been slashed.

“The paltry cash-terms increase this year doesn’t even begin to reverse the years of decay and decline in our service. Give us the tools and we’ll do the job – but we need investment and proper pay, terms and conditions.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The Government has acted swiftly to support local areas affected by Storm Ciara and Environment Agency teams remain on the ground operating flood defences and supporting communities that have been affected by the severe weather.

“Fire and rescue services have the resources they need to do their important work and overall will receive around £2.3billion in 2019/20.”