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News Report Page 18 of 18
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Bold plans announced as Chief Fire Officer bites back against austerity

THE Fire Brigades Union has won its fight to maintain night time fire cover at 2 Stations, and has increased the number of fire engines in the Region from 26 to 30. The locally run campaign opposed cuts proposed by the fire authority to remove night time fire cover, and achieved widespread political and public support.  According to the FBU, almost 20,000 members of the public signed a petition opposing the removal of night time fire cover at City Centre and Wallasey Fire Stations. Together with Labour Party branches, Constituency Labour Party's, local MPs and the Mayor of Liverpool, the FBU forced the fire authority to reconsider.

The Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan has announced plans to re-invest in what he called:- "our hard pressed Fire and Rescue Service." in an address to the Fire Authority, on 24 January 2018.  He described as challenging, but achievable, Chief Fire Officer Garrigan revealed previously unthinkable proposals to increase the number of available fire engines, with equally bold proposals to increase the number of firefighters.  He described a repositioning of organisational risk which was not reliant on the realisation of unachievable Government funding; rather the creative use of existing funding to protect the frontline. He said he was extremely confident that his plans would make the Service more resilient and better able to respond to emerging risks; describing a specific focus on the heightened terrorist threat, high rise risk following the Grenfell Tower fire and marine risk given the increase in shipping utilising the River Mersey to access Liverpool Waters and the Cruise Liner Terminal. He also confirmed his commitment to invest in the Service's infrastructure and training facilities whilst maintaining Merseyside's world renowned prevention services. When asked how he would find the money to deliver these changes he said:- "By thinking differently."

In light of the FBU's campaign, the Chief Fire Officer put forward the following proposals:-

Increasing the number of fire engines from 26 to 30.

Increasing firefighter jobs from 620 to 642 (+20 recruits in training)

Maintaining night time fire cover at City Centre and Wallasey Fire Stations.

The Chief Fire Officer went on to say:- "I joined Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service almost 29 years ago, spending many years fighting fires and responding to life threatening incidents in some of our most deprived communities so I know how important these additional resources will be. Not reinvesting was never really an option, it was more a matter of how. Having exhausted all attempts to secure additional in year funding and not wishing to increase Council Tax bills via a referendum, I have had to re-position risk. I fully understand that the proposals will require us to innovate, but subtle changes to the way we operate will result in more fire engines and more firefighters; that is the most important thing to me right now. It is my job to worry about the money so my firefighters and my protection and prevention teams can get on with theirs, we have some truly fantastic people who will make our communities safer as a result of this investment. I have shared my financial plans with the Fire Authority and I know I can deliver them,  even if they may cause me to have 1 or 2 sleepless nights along the way. And rest assured I will continue to press the Government for further funding, that fight has only just begun."

In closing the CFO thanked the Fire Authority, Merseyside MPs, Mayors Anderson and Rotheram and the rest of the City Region Leaders for supporting his plans and his lobbying of Government; stating that the plans he was putting forward would make the people of Merseyside safer which was why he joined the Service in the 1st place. He went on to say it was time to look to the future not the past.  He finally asked for some patience, stating that some of the changes would take time to fully implement as they were reliant on recruitment and growth but recruit they would, people from Merseyside who truly reflect the diverse communities we have the privilege to serve. The new proposals represent a change from the plans contained within the current Integrated Risk Management Plan and as such, they will be subject to full consultation.

Commenting on the success of the campaign, Mark Rowe, FBU Regional secretary in the North West said:- "We welcome these proposals and we urge the fire authority to fully support them. Our success shows that an organised and focused campaign, which includes the local communities and political groups, can deliver significant results. The FBU, in the face of almost a decade of savage austerity, has shown that we can mobilise massive support and resistance, to not only stop proposed cuts, but also overturn previous cuts. It is undoubtable that the public of Merseyside will now be safer due to the determined efforts of the FBU. I want to thank each and every FBU member, and the public, who have supported this campaign; without them, we would not have achieved what we have."

Audio file player...

Play our very interesting phone interview with the FBU North West Regional Secretary, Mark Rowe above.

For free fire safety advice or to request a home fire safety check, call:- 0800 731 5958. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service also provides free smoke alarms for Merseyside residents aged 65 or over or those referred by partner agencies.

More than ½ of millennials in North West can't afford the deposit to buy their 1st home

BUYING a house is a top life goal for millennials in the North West (47%), but 51% say they can't afford a deposit, according to new research from Lloyds Bank. Meanwhile, 40% of parents in the Region with millennial aged children would like to help financially, but worry they'll need the money later in life. The research comes as Lloyds Bank launches a new way for families to help their children onto the property ladder while still earning market leading interest on their savings. Its new Lend a Hand mortgage removes the need for 1st time buyers to save for a deposit and instead uses the savings of a family member, who can contribute up to 10% of the loan as security. The 3 year fixed mortgage has a rate of 2.99% and offers parents a fixed rate of 2.5% interest on their savings for 3 years.

Robin Bulloch, Managing Director, Lloyds Bank, said:- "Taking your 1st step onto the property ladder is a rite of passage for many people, but with the average 1st time buyer house price in the North West having risen by nearly a quarter over the past decade, buying a 1st home remains a distant dream for many young people. Families are often willing to help but many are worried that they won't be able to access savings later in life or during retirement. We want to help families reach these milestone moments, and Lend a Hand is just 1 of the ways we can do this, as part of our commitment to lend ₤30billion to 1st time buyers by 2020."

Millennials in the North West believe they will need a ₤21,703 deposit to get the keys to their 1st home; that's 6 times more than their parents needed for their 1st property (₤3,417). Although parents recognise the struggle their children face to get onto the property ladder, only 24% think their child should save more.

The poll reveals that 18 to 35 year olds in the North West are saving on average ₤118 a month, and that parents have average savings of almost ₤40,000. As well as 2 in 5 worrying about giving their savings to their children because they might need them later in life, a further 41% think they may need the money for retirement.

Average house price for 1st time buyers
Region 1988 1998 2008 2013 2018
North ₤23,781 ₤39,107 ₤111,657 ₤105,124 ₤125,900
Yorkshire and Humberside ₤24,700 ₤42,027 ₤114,904 ₤111,965 ₤142,957
North West ₤26,399 ₤45,779 ₤122,142 ₤114,840 ₤149,409
East Midlands ₤32,323 ₤44,715 ₤125,148 ₤119,693 ₤165,813
West Midlands ₤32,918 ₤49,613 ₤128,674 ₤128,735 ₤174,781
East Anglia ₤50,233 ₤52,659 ₤151,929 ₤150,254 ₤211,465
Wales ₤28,182 ₤43,233 ₤121,045 ₤113,042 ₤143,995
South West ₤48,425 ₤54,835 ₤157,625 ₤159,796 ₤209,812
South East ₤59,559 ₤68,644 ₤189,727 ₤194,978 ₤279,715
Greater London ₤72,921 ₤96,362 ₤256,628 ₤281,446 ₤425,030
Northern Ireland ₤25,386 ₤49,300 ₤156,467 ₤92,762 ₤128,522
Scotland ₤29,786 ₤46,638 ₤120,113 ₤114,868 ₤141,141
(UK) ₤42,875 ₤56,336 ₤154,713 ₤155,292 ₤212,211
Source:- Lloyds Banking Group - Rolling 12 month crude average.
Average 1st time buyer deposit (₤)
Region 1988 1998 2008 2013 2018
North ₤1,189 ₤1,971 ₤11,177 ₤15,769 ₤17,085
Yorkshire and Humberside ₤1,237 ₤2,118 ₤12,214 ₤16,795 ₤19,871
North West ₤1,323 ₤2,303 ₤13,375 ₤17,226 ₤21,495
East Midlands ₤1,619 ₤2,517 ₤13,604 ₤18,062 ₤24,853
West Midlands ₤1,649 ₤2,565 ₤16,805 ₤22,722 ₤26,494
East Anglia ₤2,703 ₤5,266 ₤22,789 ₤30,051 ₤36,714
Wales ₤1,409 ₤2,166 ₤13,424 ₤16,956 ₤16,638
South West ₤2,494 ₤5,483 ₤23,865 ₤31,959 ₤37,060
South East ₤3,103 ₤6,384 ₤28,118 ₤38,996 ₤52,204
Greater London ₤4,127 ₤9,636 ₤38,494 ₤69,658 ₤110,182
Northern Ireland ₤1,330 ₤4,930 ₤31,293 ₤18,552 ₤17,925
Scotland ₤509 ₤2,411 ₤18,017 ₤21,825 ₤19,877
(UK) ₤2,148 ₤3,932 ₤21,366 ₤30,639 ₤33,211
Sources:- Lloyds Banking Group, CML (UK Finance) * House price are simple arithmetic ('crude') averages.

Lloyds Bank Top Tips For 1st Time Buyers:-

1. Ask an expert - go and talk to a mortgage lender:- a bank, a broker or building society to check how much you can borrow. Once you have a clearer idea, you will be in a better position to plan ahead and consider what you can afford.

2. Plan ahead - think about how much you need for your monthly bills. Budgeting tools and calculators can help you get an idea of how much you will need.

3. Check your credit score - this can change over time, so don't panic if you've had issues in the past. To buy a property with a mortgage, you need to have a reasonable credit score. To check your score will cost about the same as a takeaway coffee, and in some cases it can also be free!

Relate seeks to increase understanding about domestic abuse and coercive control

A national conference focusing on covert domestic abuse is taking place in Liverpool this March. Conference on Coercive Control was founded in 2015 by Suffolk, based survivor and campaigner Min Grob who, having left a coercive and controlling relationship, realised there was very little understanding of coercive control, because the abusers are extremely good at portraying themselves as upstanding citizens who are often described, by outsiders, as pillars of the community who will do anything for a neighbour or friend. There have been 5 national conferences to date, but this will be the 1st conference held in the North and Min has partnered with Relate Cheshire and Merseyside to hold the conference, on 4 March 2019, at the Quaker Meeting Room, in Liverpool One.

Sarah Hall, Chief Executive of Relate Cheshire and Merseyside and Greater Manchester South said:- "We've been working hard over the last few years to develop our response to domestic abuse to include an improved understanding of coercive and controlling behaviour, and we're really pleased to be part of this important conference that will raise awareness of an issue that is not widely well understood."

Whether you are a survivor or know someone who might be, whether you are a lawyer, a teacher, a GP or a Paramedic, a Police Officer or Magistrate, a Social Worker, an academic or student, a designated Safeguarding Officer or a Counsellor, this conference aims to increase anyone's understanding of abuse that routinely falls below the radar, because coercive control, in its early stages can often be mistaken for acts of love as the abusive pattern of behaviour has often not been identified. Highly regarded speakers will be talking around the theme of:- 'BREAKING FREE' and will look at the difficulties of getting out of such a relationship safely. Tickets are available on:- 'Eventbrite' and a number of tickets are available for those on a low income.

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