Headlines: July 28th, 2008

Fire and Rescue Authorities across the country are being invited to bid for a share of 130 million pounds being made available for Private Finance Initiative schemes. The PFI credits are intended to be used for long-term projects such as new fire stations or updating vehicle fleets.

So far more than 400 million pounds has been invested in the service through PFI and the Government see this as crucial to its commitement to cut the number of domestic accidental fire related deaths by 20 per cent and to reduce cases of arson by 10 per cent in the next two years.

Fire Minister Parmjit Dhanda said, “We need modern fire stations based at the heart of our communities that can welcome the public as well as keeping them safe and provide better working conditions for male and female firefighters.”

He said PFI projects were are already helping to make fire services more efficient and more effective in communicating with the neighbourhoods they serve. “We have a number of excellent examples of successful Fire and Rescue PFI projects and this year alone have announced support for four new stations and a
community lifeskills centre in Gloucestershire, ten new and refurbished stations in Suffolk and 16 new stations in the North West,” he explained.

Fire and Rescue Authorities will be asked in the near future to submit initial expressions of interest in the latest funding. Under the scheme the private sector role usually includes the provison and management of facilities though building, maintaining and improving the necessary infrastructure.