30/06/2003

Prescott outlines plan for renamed and reformed fire service

The deputy prime minister has unveiled a White Paper in the Commons today outlining government plans to reform the fire service – including proposals that will reform its name to the Fire and Rescue Service.

In 'Our Fire and Rescue Service', John Prescott sets out his blueprint which stresses fire prevention and calls for more effective ways of deploying personnel and equipment.

Presenting his plan to Parliament, Mr Prescott said: "The fire and rescue service is a vital public service. It is part of the fabric of all our communities.

"We want to build on what is good in the fire service and to tackle those areas where there are shortcomings - many of which have been exposed in the course of the dispute over the last 12 months.

"The fire service of today has many strengths, not least of which are the firefighters and other support staff who work in the service.

"This White Paper allows us to look ahead to the future and leave behind the difficulties of the past year… This White Paper is good news for the fire and rescue service."

Proposals include providing more than £43 million to be invested in the next three years on community fire safety and arson reduction measures.

Other proposals include setting up a new structure to give better strategic direction to the fire service, and creating a new regional framework and devolving responsibility for fire policy in Wales.

(GMcG)

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