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Shrove Tuesday debate: Will Conservative Wiltshire Councillors vote a U-turn on fire service amalgamation...and on the proposed budget?

Sirs,

Tuesday, 24 February should be a most significant day at County Hall.  Two major matters are up for debate.  They are the future of the Fire Service and a range of budget cuts that the Conservative administration is seeking to impose.

The Fire Service issue has already been twice debated at County Hall.  On each occasion the Conservative ruling group voted strongly not to support the merger between Wiltshire and Dorset Fire authorities.  Without this merger there will be a lack of fire cover, fire-fighter redundancies and closure of fire stations.  

As Wiltshire Council has withheld their support, the merger is now seriously at risk.  On Tuesday there will be one last chance for a Conservative rethink.  Common sense indicates that this will happen, but at County Hall you never can tell.

Whether or not Wiltshire Conservatives will change their mind on the budget cuts is an entirely different matter.  All I know is that many of my electors sincerely hope that they will.  

Of most concern is the proposed axing of the much-valued RUH Hopper bus service.  This proposal has been branded the meanest cut of all, affecting as it will the elderly, infirm and vulnerable.

We shall have to wait to see what Tuesday 24th February brings.  My vote has already been determined by discussions with my electors.  It is to be hoped that the same can be said for all Wiltshire councillors.    

Regards,
Jeff Osborn
Independent Wiltshire Councillor
Trowbridge                       

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