A NORTH-EAST MP has accused the government of cutting fire services 'to the bone' following latest emerging figures.

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has voiced his concern after it emerged Cleveland Fire Brigade has seen a 31 per cent decrease in front-line staff since 2010.

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Figures obtained by the Fire Brigades Union show Cleveland Fire Authority have lost 196 frontline firefighters, while UK-wide there has been a loss of 11,500.

Responding to the figures, Mr Cunningham said: “Our fire service is being cut to the bone by reckless Government cuts. Our firefighters do a difficult job day-in and day-out, but their work is made much harder by having limited resources and fewer frontline staff.

“Not only does it mean our area will face slower response times as a result of these cuts to firefighters, but call handlers potentially having to choose which calls they respond to.

“In an area like Stockton North, which is home to a lot of high hazard industry, we need a fire service that has the resources to ensure local people are kept safe. The disproportionate level of cuts the authority is facing is making this job more difficult.

"I know that our local fire service will not shirk from their work despite the dangers, but they need the Government to back them with the funding and resources they need”