Ministers have defended dramatic cuts to fire service funding and rejected claims that lives could be put at risk.
Local Government Minister Mark Prisk said the services needed to change against a backdrop of a falling death toll in accidental house fires.
He spoke after Midland MPs John Hemming (Lib Dem, Yardley) and Bob Ainsworth (Lab, Coventry North East) urged the Government to reconsider planned cuts when they spoke in a Commons debate.
The chief fire officer of the West Midlands, Vijith Randeniya, had previously warned that funding cuts of 12.5 per cent could force the service to lose 600 firefighters and close 11 stations.
But Mr Prisk said: “In 2001-02, there were 310 accidental fire deaths in the home, compared with 187 deaths in 2011-12, according to the latest fire statistics.
“Clearly, neither I nor any member of the Government would regard 187 deaths as acceptable in any sense, but that trend and the substance of that change is important, and, as with any public service, it must be reflected in how the service is provided.”
Mr Hemming said he agreed the Government had to cut public spending but warned that fire services in major cities appeared to have suffered bigger cuts than others.
Future cuts had to be distributed more fairly, he said. “What is critical is that the long term has to be far more transparent and far more equitable.”
Mr Ainsworth said the fire service had cut staff numbers, and was struggling to make more cuts without damaging services.
“The West Midlands fire service is not a fat and flabby organisation; it is an organisation that is doing its level best to be efficient and to provide a service, and that has faced considerable cuts already.”
Describing the impact of the proposed cuts to MPs earlier this year, Mr Randeniya said: “People would be at much more risk, and our ability to respond in the way we currently do would be severely disrupted. Therefore, those people have an increased chance of losing their life or suffering injury, and therefore, damage to the infrastructure of the country as well.”