Millions of people across the West Midlands will pay more tax for a poorer fire service after the Government announced plans yesterday to close five 999 control rooms in favour of one centralised centre, opponents claim.
The new regional fire control centre will be built at Wolverhampton Business Park and will replace West Midlands, Hereford and Worcester, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire brigade control rooms.
The #1 billion plan to replace individual control rooms with regional centres is part of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's plans for the fire service across the country.
Critics claim Mr Prescott is empire building and playing politics with safety, and it would result in higher taxes, poorer service and job cuts.
Tony Nutting, acting regional secretary of the West Midlands FBU, said: "There's no new money for any of this. The Government have said they won't pay for it.
"The West Midlands is going to have to find something like #110 million. It's not rocket science, it's going to come from tax rises and cuts."