PLANS to merged two of Bolton's fire stations have been put "on hold" in the wake of the disastrous Cube towerblock fire.

Greater Manchester authorities had planned to combine Bolton's Central and North stations to create just one facility but this will now be reevaluated.

It comes as the section of council tax which is used to support the fire service - the 'Mayoral Precept' - is set to rise by £4.86 for Band D properties.

The decision was confirmed by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham after a visit to meet students affected by the Cube fire in Bolton.

“Our Fire and Rescue Service has been hammered over the years due to funding cuts by central government – a loss of £23.8m since 2010," he said.

"My priority has always been to keep people in Greater Manchester safe and that is why I have found extra resources for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to mitigate to effects of government cuts. I have heard concerns about fire station mergers, not least in Bolton. In light of that I am proposing to put that merger on hold to allow further consultation with Bolton Council and community leaders.

“I have also committed to maintaining 50 fire pumps in Greater Manchester and existing crewing levels on them."

The merger has not been called off but authorities will now reassess whether they can afford to reduce the number of stations in Bolton.