FIREFIGHTING unions say Dorset Fire Authority’s “slash and burn” decision to freeze the service’s council tax precept will make frontline cuts inevitable.

As reported in the Daily Echo earlier this week, the authority decided against plans to raise council tax fire funding by 4.2p a week for band D households. Board members voted down the plans by seven to five, says the Fire Brigades Union.

FBU Dorset secretary Karen Adams said: “We’re angry that these seven councillors went against all the professional advice they were being given.

“It beggars belief that they think the public would trade 4.2p a week for every household for cuts that will increase risk to life across the county.

“There are no more efficiencies to make.

“This is a slash-and-burn approach these councillors have taken.

“The chief officer is left with no alternative than to look to make savings from frontline cuts which he was trying to avoid at all costs.”

County fire chief Darran Gunter said after Tuesday’s meeting that immediate cuts would not be forthcoming.

However, he also conceded: “We will have some very difficult decisions in the future.”