Gloucestershire Lib Dems slam fire service merger plan

Commenting on the news that Fire services may be brought under control of elected police commissioners, Liberal Democrat Councillor Jeremy Hilton, a former county council cabinet member for community services, which included the fire service, said: “This is the craziest idea that has come out of the Government in a long line of recent crazy ideas.

“I don’t know what it is about Conservative Home Secretaries as they seem determined to strip away the powers of local authorities.

“It is ridiculous to suggest that the fire service can be better run by one individual rather than Gloucestershire County Council.

“The service has been run by the county council since 1974 and has done a brilliant job protecting the people of Gloucestershire.

“We all know how well the fire and rescue service has worked with other services during the Covid-19 pandemic, as it did during the 2007 floods which devastated the county.

“I am sure we can call on Gloucestershire County Council to vigorously oppose these plans.

“The police and crime commissioner in Gloucestershire already has a big enough job tackling crime and disorder and does not need the extra responsibility of the fire service.”

Councillor Hilton, a former chair of Local Government Association fire services management committee, added: “Police and crime commissioners are elected using the supplementary vote system, which is not perfect, but is better than the first past the post system.

“Changing to the first past the post will just make it easier to elect Conservative police and crime commissioners.

“This is the Home Secretary’s cynical attempt to manipulate the electoral system for the benefit of the Conservative Party.”