OPINIONS are divided on the new role set to be created to govern the fire service in 2023.

Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall is set to take control of the fire service next April when Cumbria County Council is abolished.

The move was just one of the options for fire after the existing Cumbrian councils are replaced in 2023 by Cumberland Council in the west and Westmorland & Furness Council in the east.

It was considered that the new authorities could pick it up from the county council, delivering the service separately in their areas or with joint working.

The only other option would be the creation of a new Fire Authority.

But Mr McCall has been successful in his bid to take over CFRS and while the fire union has said it is 'disappointed' with the Home Office’s decision, Carlisle’s MP has welcomed the move.

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Fire Brigades Union executive council member for the North West, Les Skarratts said: “If the PCC still wishes to continue with this takeover, and even at this late stage we would ask him to reconsider, we will obviously engage and talk with him to attempt to progress the transfer without further detriment to our members or the public.”

The FBU has called the Home Secretary’s move 'a political decision' that 'disregards the will of the Cumbrian communities.'

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Mr McCall has said that neither of the new authorities were vocal about wanting to take over fire governance, adding that he will accept the responsibility if the Government offers the needed financial settlement.

News and Star: Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall

The FBU said: “The consultation held with the Cumbria communities showed that 54 per cent of those responding wanted a democratically elected and accountable fire and rescue authority rather than being taken over by Peter McCall as the PCC.”

But John Stevenson, Member of Parliament for Carlisle has said: “This is a move I very much welcome. Bringing both police and Fire and Rescue Services under one democratically elected PFCC already carrying out a governance function makes absolute sense.

“Good news for the services and good news for Cumbria.”

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