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Public Accounts Committee – 26 November 2015

parliament-uk-logoThe Public Accounts Committee (PAC) took evidence examining the impact of funding reductions on the effectiveness of fire and rescue services.

Witnesses included:

  • Sir Ken Knight, former Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser
  • Jeremy Hilton, Chair, LGA fire services management committee
  • Paul Hancock, President, Chief Fire Officers Association/Chief Fire Officer for Cheshire

From Department of Communities and Local Government:

  • Melanie Dawes, Permanent Secretary
  • Neil O’Connor, Director of Fire Resilience and Emergencies
  • Peter Holland, Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser


The number of fires and related casualties have been on a long-term downward trend, as has funding for fire and rescue authorities. Concerns have been raised that capacity to respond to major incidents might be compromised by further funding reductions.

Chair’s comments

Commenting on a National Audit Office report on fire and rescue service sustainability, PAC Chair Meg Hillier MP described the Department for Communities and Local Government’s understanding of the pressures now facing those services as “seriously flawed”.

She added: “Without this understanding, further efficiency savings could put services at risk, potentially putting lives at risk.”

The video of the evidence can be found here