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Devon and Somerset fire chief Lee Howell gets 6% pay rise

  • 5-30-2015

A fire chief will receive a 6.2% pay increase, despite rises for firefighters being capped at 1%.

The wage rise, approved by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority, sees Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell's pay go up from £137,392 to £146,031.

Ahead of the rise, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) questioned the timing and said it hoped a similar increase would be passed on to firefighters.

In 2013, budget cuts of £5.5m were announced for the fire service.

'Anger among firefighters'

Trevor French, from the FBU, said pay rises for firefighters had been capped at 1% for the past four years.

"The authority thinks fire chiefs are attracted because of the pay, but chief fire officers do the job because they want to do it, pay doesn't come into their initial thought.

"There'll be anger among firefighters and control staff, but there won't be industrial action over his pay.

"However, our pay is falling behind."

Mr Howell's pay rise was approved with the condition that an urgent meeting would be held to review senior pay increases in the service.

Historically, there has been a link between the chief fire officer's pay, the director of operations, the director of people and commercial services, and the director of corporate services, and when the chief fire officer's pay has increased, proportionally the other roles have as well.

In 2013, Mr Howell, took up a two-day-a-week post with the Welsh government as one of Her Majesty's Inspectors.

The authority said Mr Howell had since returned to the service full-time and that independent research suggested his present wage was "well below the median salary" in relation to the amount of people it served and the size of the organisation.

Mark Healey, chairman of the authority, said the independent review showed the service was underpaying Mr Howell.

The brigade is the largest non-metropolitan fire and rescue service in England and employs 1,983 staff.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2015 BBC

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