2015october-19

union slams fire service plans to cut staff 'drastic and …

Hampshire s Fire Brigade Union has slammed Hampshire Fire & Rescue s proposals to cut the number of firefighters in Winchester.

In what the authority are calling their risk review , they have has outlined proposals including reducing the number of firefighters in Hampshire, replacing fire engines with emergency response vehicles and increasing the emergency response time.

We have great concerns over the proposals.

Whilst we have been involved in the process up to now, we have come to a point where we differ immensely on what we believe the answer to be , he added.

Hampshire Fire & Rescue, which has an annual budget of 65 million, faces a 12 million pound deficit over the next four years.

Speaking to WINOL, the authority s deputy chief, Neil Odin, said that although the number of firefighters would reduce, the changes were about improving the service.

We have financial savings to make but the proposals we know we can do this safely and we know we can do effectively , he said.

We have a priority: first of all keeping our firefighters safe, making sure our community is safe and making sure we fit our financial envelope, in that order .

The proposals are now at consultation stage and the service is urging members of the public to put their thoughts across between now and February, when the final decision could be made.

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One in 10 households in Winchester do not have broadband

More than one in 10 adults in Winchester have never been online, according to new research. The survey of some 4,000 people nationwide revealed that almost one in ten (8.9%) households in Winchester did not have basic broadband. Almost a quarter (23%) of people in the city did not possess the five basic digital skills including the ability to communicate online, make payments and create digital content. According to the digital skills charity, Go On UK, responsible for the research, a lack of digital skills could mean that local businesses could miss out on the UK s annual website sales of 193 million.

In a separate initiative to help bridge the digital divide, a bus will be touring the country offering advice and support to small businesses in Winchester. The SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) tour bus will be coming to the high street on November 24.

Go On UK reckon some 1.2 million businesses do not have basic digital skills.

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