Lives are being put at risk by a £30 million cut in funding for West Midlands Fire Service which means five fire-fighting posts are being axed every month, MPs have warned.
Ministers were urged to re-think the cuts, which have hit fire services in big cities harder than those in rural areas.
MPs including Ian Austin (Lab Dudley North), John Hemming (Lib Dem Birmingham Yardley) and David Winnick (Lab Walsall North) highlighted cuts to West Midlands Fire Service as they spoke in the Commons.
The service is facing budget cuts of £30 million and while it has avoided sacking staff or forcing them to take early retirement, it has imposed a recruitment freeze which means fire-fighters who retire or change jobs are not replaced.
At the moment, five uniformed posts are lost every month and there are no plans to end the freeze.
The service is also considering closing fire stations, and recently closed Halesowen station. It is also considering using smaller fire engines, which require fewer staff, to replace traditional appliances which are typically staffed by four or five fire-fighters.
Mr Winnick said the cuts could lead to 300 posts being lost, and asked: “Is that not a great danger to our constituents in the West Midlands? I hope that the Minister will respond and recognise our concern.”
Mr Austin warned that West Midlands Fire Service was facing bigger cuts than other local authorities - and some authorities in rural areas are actually enjoying increase in the grant they receive from central government.
He said: “The background is that when all fire and rescue services were expecting to face cuts as part of the comprehensive spending review, they planned well in advance, to protect their communities.
“However, when the exact figures for each service were announced, it was immediately clear that the cuts were anything but fair.”
Local Government Minister Robert Neill, responding for the Government, said: “As with all the public sector, the fire service must deal with the difficult and pressing financial situation that we inherited from the previous Government. I make no bones about that.”