Jobs lost as rates frozen

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A THOUSAND police staff and officers, and 150 fire service staff, will be made redundant this year to save money.

The announcement was made by West Yorkshire’s Police and Fire Authorities when they agreed to freeze their council rates until 2012.

Average households will continue to pay around £1 for firefighters and £2.50 for police every week.

This year’s police budget has been set at £432.8m - down 3.9 per cent from last year.

Coun Mark Burns-Williamson, chair of the police authority, said: “We have made every effort to avoid making large numbers of people redundant by freezing both police officer and police staff recruitment, as well as undertaking a major restructuring programme of so called ‘back office’ and support functions.

“However, unfortunately there will still need to be some job losses and police officer numbers will also shrink as those who retire are not replaced.”

He said police officers would account for around 25 per cent of the job cuts.

In the next three years a further 500 police officers and support staff will also be made redundant.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has suspended recruitment of full time firefighters for the foreseeable future.

And £850,000 from reserves will be used to try and maintain front line services.

This year’s budget has been slashed by almost £6m to £89.8m.

Coun David Ridgway, chair of the fire authority, said: “Central government is reducing fire grants by 25 per cent over the next four years but the method by which funds are distributed means that West Yorkshire will lose even more, heralding a period of unprecedented change in the way we provide essential services.”