FIRE chiefs have been discussing a possible merger of South and West Yorkshire brigades amid government spending cuts.

It was one of several options discussed at a private meeting on South Yorkshire Fire Authority.

Coun Jim Andrews, chairman of South Yorkshire Fire Authority, said no concrete plans had been made, and the consideration was at an early stage.

“We could have merger of all Yorkshire and Humberside brigades, or a merger based on the Yorkshire Ambulance Service model which discounts part of Humberside Fire Authority. Or we could have a merger with Humberside.”

Neil Carbutt, secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “Historically mergers have meant cuts. I would want to see every nut, bolt and screw of any proposals or agreements.”