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Avon Fire and Rescue Service

Volume 626: debated on Monday 3 July 2017

I hope the hon. Lady will welcome, as I do, the fact that fire incidents in Avon have fallen by a quarter since 2010. Avon fire and rescue service will receive stable funding for 2019-20, and the Government consider that to be a fair settlement.

The service has lost £5 million of funding in recent years, and 200 frontline firefighting jobs have gone. Meanwhile, the police and crime commissioner is saying that the police are being pushed to their limit and have been asked to cut a further £20 million, which simply cannot be done. Must we wait until an incident in Bristol—an incident like the Grenfell Tower fire, or a terrorist attack—brings home to the Government just how much pressure those services are under?

I understand the point that the hon. Lady has made, but resources must be allocated in the light of risk, and, as I have said, risk has fallen in Avon since 2010. Obviously we cannot be complacent about that, and I have clearly signalled that there will be a profound re-examination of fire safety and risk, but I return to the point that I made about police resources. I am very committed to engaging with police authorities and police and crime commissioners, so that I can really understand their concerns about resources and ensure that any decisions are based on evidence rather than assertion.