In Communities and Local Government questions, Bridget questioned theParliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government,Bob Neill MP, asking him for a fair deal for Tyne and Wear’s fire and rescue services.
The government has cut fire and rescue service funding in Cleveland, Durham and Darlington, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear by £6.6 million. In addition, the Observer newspaper has reported a private company charged with maintaining vital fire and rescue equipment including fire engines in London is in sever financial difficulties, putting the government’s future privatisation plans of the fire and rescue services across the country into question.
Commenting after CLG questions, Bridget Phillipson said:
“Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has already made significant savings, including cuts of 28% to back office staff, but we are facing deep front-line cuts.”
“I’m urging the government to give a fair deal on funding to Tyne and Wear’s fire and rescue services and help keep local people as safe as possible.”
Bridget Phillipson (Houghton and Sunderland South) (Lab): What assessment he has made of the potential effect of funding reductions on the operational activities of fire and rescue services. 
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Robert Neill): Operational matters are best assessed at the local level. It is for each fire and rescue authority to determine the operational activities of its fire and rescue service through its integrated risk management plan, which is subject to consultation with the local community.
Bridget Phillipson: Tyne and Wear fire and rescue service has already made significant savings, including cuts of 28% to back office staff, but we are facing deep front-line cuts. May I urge the Minister again to look carefully at the situation faced by metropolitan areas such as Tyne and Wear, and ensure that he brings forward a funding settlement that is fair?
Robert Neill: I have met representatives of metropolitan fire and rescue authorities and meetings continue to take place at an official level, and we will meet representatives of any fire authority, regardless where in the country they come from. In Tyne and Wear, the formula grant per head at £29 is significantly above the average, which reflects some of the risks. In fact, the formula was updated by this Government to give a greater weighting to population density.