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Fire Stations Saved As Lib Dems Listen To Residents

February 4, 2016 12:44 PM

South Lakeland MP Tim Farron has welcomed the news that a proposal to scrap five fire stations across Cumbria has been scrapped, following widespread consultation with residents by local Lib Dem campaigners.

Local Lib Dem councillors and campaigners had undertaken an extensive survey of local opinion about the proposals, including written surveys and public meetings. They received hundreds of responses to the surveys, and had fought to save the Fire Stations following this consultation.

The decision not to go ahead with the cuts was taken at a Cumbria County Council cabinet meeting today. Under the original proposals, which were designed as a cost-saving measure, retained fire stations in Arnside, Staveley, Frizington, Walney and Lazonby had been due to close.

However, the County Council will have to make savings elsewhere, due to severe cuts being imposed by the Conservatives. In 2012/13 Cumbria received £148 million pounds in core grant from central government, whereas by 2020 it is expected to be zero.

Tim said: "I am hugely relieved that the County Council has decided not to press ahead with these cuts to local Fire Stations. It was clear that local people were completely against these cuts, and thankfully their voices were heard.

"I understand that the County Council is under significant pressure due to the cuts being imposed by central government, but these fire stations are hugely important for their areas and it is right that they should be protected.

"I'd like to thank in particular Cllr Ian Stewart, local Lib Dem campaigner Pete McSweeney, and Cllr Stan Collins for their hard work on this issue. They spoke to a huge number of local people, and fought hard to save their local fire stations.

"The government must also look again at the savage cuts to local government, which are set to continue over the next few years. Councils provide vital services such as these fire stations, and must be given the funding they need to run these effectively."