Page last updated at 14:34 GMT, Monday, 30 April 2012 15:34 UK

Communities questions

Funding cuts to fire and rescue services are putting public safety at risk, shadow communities minister Chris Williamson has warned.

At question time in the Commons on 30 April 2012, Mr Williamson said that Prime Minister David Cameron had made a "solemn pledge" before the 2010 general election "that he would veto any ministerial plans that involved front-line service cuts".

Yet spending cuts are now resulting in "thousands of fire-fighters losing their jobs, dozens of fire stations closing, and response times going through the roof", he said.

The government was guilty of "putting as a consequence the safety of the public at risk", Mr Williamson claimed.

The Labour frontbencher demanded to know whether this was "another prime ministerial broken election pledge".

The communities and local government minister with responsibility for fire services, Bob Neill, said that some authorities had adapted better to their changing financial circumstances than others.

"A lot of fire and rescue authorities are actually making the savings not by cutting fire and rescue posts, not by closing fire stations, but by shared operations, better joint working, and interestingly, amended shift practices," he said.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles and his team also took questions on the effects of council tax benefit localisation on low-income families, simplifying the regulation of private landlords, and promoting the take-up of the right to buy.

Communities and Local Government: Government and opposition

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