North Devon MP Nick Harvey has written to the Government minister responsible for funding of fire authorities Parmjit Dhanda MP urging him to make good the projected £1 million shortfall in Devon and Somerset's budget for the coming year. He has als

North Devon MP Nick Harvey has written to the Government minister responsible for funding of fire authorities - Parmjit Dhanda MP - urging him to make good the projected £1 million shortfall in Devon and Somerset's budget for the coming year. He has also asked the minister to meet the MPs whose constituencies are affected.Mr Harvey explains: "One major contributory factor to the current crisis has been the national changes to the fire fighters' pension scheme, which have affected Devon and Somerset more than almost any other part of the country. The fire chief and authority believe they are under-funded to the tune of £1 million pa."The MP has also written to Cllr Bernard Hughes, chairman of the fire authority, warning that if the authority does have to make cuts, it should recognise the particular problems in Ilfracombe:"The authority's proposal to end full-time cover in Ilfracombe will be felt particularly acutely because many full-time firemen also serve as retained firemen out of hours. If these full-timers are axed, but not made redundant, they will have to move elsewhere in Devon and Somerset. This will hit Ilfracombe twice over, as it will be losing each man twice - as both retained and full-time crew. "n To protest against the proposal to axe fire fighters' jobs in Ilfracombe, sign our petition online at www.northdevongazette.co.uk