WEST Midlands Fire Service are holding meetings in Stourbridge, Brierley Hill and Dudley to consult the public over coping with budget cuts.

The service, which is under pressure from Government budget cuts, wants residents input ahead of its new three year Community Safely Strategy.

As well as online surveys to complete the fire service is holding a consultation meeting at Stourbridge Town Hall on Tuesday, Decemeber 11 at 6.30pm and Brierley Hill Civic Hall on Thursday, December 13 at 6.30pm and Dudley Town Hall on Friday, December 14 at 5pm.

Councillor John Edwards, Chair of the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, also wants local people to get involved in the consultation.

He said: “West Midlands Fire Service offers an extremely wide range of services, from educating schoolchildren about fire safety through to dealing with large-scale major incidents.

“We’re keen to hear from as many people as possible as part of our consultation, so we can work the feedback into our planning and budgeting.”

“The services we provide currently cost the average council tax band ‘D’ payer £47.83 a year - that’s less than £1 a week - compared to the UK average of £64.12.”

Cllr Edwards wants local residents to get the message the fire service is under immense financial strain and will have to change working methods.

He added: “We’re dealing with unprecedented central government funding cuts for our service, and are braced for more to be announced just before Christmas.

“As a result, we’re having to make significant changes to how we deliver our services and we want to talk with our communities about the best way to do this."

The fire service want feedback on a number of issues including how the WMFS prioritise incidents, the introduction of new types of vehicles to attend incidents and charging for some types of non-emergency call-outs.

For more information about the consultation visit www.wmfs.net.