CHESHIRE fire chiefs have agreed to increase its council tax by 1.99 per cent after being told to expect ongoing cuts of 8 per cent a year from their central Government funding – meaning savings of more than £8m over the next four years.

Cheshire Fire Authority members agreed to make savings of £2.2m in the next financial year with £1.7m coming from changes to how some fire engines are staffed and cuts in support service areas.

More than £12m will go towards the start of building new stations planned for Alsager, Penketh, Lymm and near the junction of the M53 and M56 motorways while cash is also being spent this year on new fire engines and thermal image cameras.

Fire authority chairman clr John Joyce added: “I’m pleased that we will be building new stations rather than closing any and we intend to complete the changes without making any firefighters redundant.”