THE fire service has unveiled updated proposals with the aim of reducing the number of cuts as part of the Programme for Change.

Earlier this year, The Bolton News revealed Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham's controversial plans to cut Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to save £12.8 million.

The cuts could mean closing Bolton’s two fire stations and replacing them with a new one, while cutting the number of fire engines, despite the number of incidents increasing.

Updated proposals include:

n Maintaining the number of firefighters on fire engines for this financial year.

n Keeping the number of firefighters at or above May 2017 levels for the next financial year

n Maintaining a fleet of 50 fire engines for this financial year

n The reduction in proposed non-uniformed job losses from 113 to 60.

The fire station mergers are also set to go ahead as planned, which the fire service said will see the creation of three brand new state-of-the-art fire stations in Greater Manchester.

Bolton North East MP Sir David Crausby has campaigned against the cuts. He admitted the proposals are a step in the right direction but said more needs to be done.

He said: "I’m pleased there’s a smaller reduction in firefighters.

"I’m not content with the timescale of this financial year as that only takes us to April.

"I don’t want 60 but I’m glad it’s not 113. It’s a move in the right direction but there’s more to do.

"I’m concerned because I think it needs resolving longer term and I want to see the same number of appliances as previously."

The revised proposals will be considered at the meeting of Greater Manchester Combined Authority on Friday September 27.

Chief Fire Officer Jim Wallace said: “These proposals will ensure that Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service continues to keep people safe whilst making sure that it is a sustainable, efficient and modern organisation that is fit for the future.

“We have listened to the feedback we received from the consultation and our engagement with staff and have made changes to the initial proposals where appropriate.

“We have done a lot of work to put the organisation in the best possible position to deliver these necessary changes and I expect to see significant progress over the coming months to further improve a fire and rescue service that is already respected across Greater Manchester.

“These proposals will provide our firefighters with improved working conditions, modern facilities and better training and equipment. Firefighters will be supported by a fire and rescue service that has a culture of trust, respect and accountability.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham added: “The Deputy Mayor and I have been listening closely to Fire Service staff and communities and have tried to respond to the concerns that they have raised. Greater Manchester has some of the fastest response times in the country and we will always do everything we can to maintain that."