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West Midlands Fire Service cuts £235,000 off wage bill by axing senior jobs

New 15-strong management group called the Strategic Enabling Team has been set up to make board 'lean and value for money'

West Midlands Fire Service has slashed £235,000 from its wages bill by getting rid of two of its senior officers and reducing the salaries of others.

It follows the restructuring of its management board to make it "lean and value for money".

Gone is the assistant chief fire officer technical and operational support and a watch commander who worked exclusively for the chief fire officer.

There are also "salary changes" made to other senior staff. A new management group called the Strategic Enabling Team has been set up which contains 15 people.

Heading this are the uniformed staff of chief fire officer, his deputy and an assistant, and under them will be 12 senior managers, called "strategic enablers".

The previous management team had four uniformed officers, assisted by 23 senior managers.

Chief fire officer, Phil Loach, said losing £235,000 from the wages bill was a reduction of 25 per cent in its budget for the years 2015-2018.

He said: "This, in turn, will inspire confidence that the leadership team are responsive to challenge and scrutiny and the need to contribute towards the financial challenges presented by ongoing funding reductions."

While approving the changes, members of the West Midlands Fire Authority also heard the new three uniformed officers would all still be 'gold commanders', meaning they are available at all times, every day of the year for major emergencies.

They would also be taking on 33 per cent extra workload but would not receive a penny extra in their salaries.

Fire authority chairman, Coun John Edwards, said: "We now have a management board that is lean, value for money and fit for purpose.

"This is a significant saving right at the very top of this organisation and shows that everyone has to bear their share of the cuts."

Also, for the fourth year running, the authority has frozen the allowances it pays to its councillors.

Councillors from Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell, Walsall, Dudley, Wolverhampton and Coventry all serve on the organisation and each receives an allowance which is on top of their council allowances.

For the last four years, this has been kept at £3,500 a year for an ordinary member and rising if they are put on sub-committees.

Top of the tree is the chairman, Coun Edwards (Lab, Sandwell), who earns £24,500 a year, and his deputy, Coun Mohammed Idrees (Lab, Birmingham) who pockets £12,250.

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