A GOVERNMENT minister has praised the sharing of facilities at a rural fire station – but stressed there will be "no negotiations" on pensions if there are more strikes.
As part of his visit to the Staffordshire Moorlands last week Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Brandon Lewis MP, who is responsible for fire and resilience, visited Ipstones Fire Station. The station shares its premises with the police as a rural post, and also Ipstones Parish Council, whose clerk uses it as an office facility.
The station was also one of the first in the country to have a defibrillator and staff were trained to back-up the ambulance service.
Mr Lewis said: "Sharing is correct and it would be wrong to have three buildings. This is also good for residents and makes a lot of savings." In a question time session with firefighters Mr Lewis discussed pensions – over which staff have already gone on strike – and privatisation within the service.
He said: "There is no talk by the Government over the privatisation of the fire service. The fire service pension is the best out there and we think it is a good package. We have made an improved offer but there is no more on the table. There will be no negotiations if there are strikes."
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