NICOLA Sturgeon has refused to rule out further job losses at Scotland’s fire service.

On the opening day the inquiry in the Grenfell tower tragedy that killed at least 80 people, Scottish Labour pressed the First Minister about fire safety north of the border.

At First Minister’s Questions, interim Labour leader Alex Rowley said 700 front-line firefighter posts had gone since merger in 2013, and there were “growing concerns” about staffing.

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The Fire Brigades Union warned MSPs earlier this week almost a quarter to fire safety inspecting officers had been lost since the eight regional services became one.

Mr Rowley said it was the government’s responsibility to fund the fire service properly.

He said: “There are growing concerns about adequate staffing and the future of fire stations. Will the First Minister give an assurance to parliament that there will be no further job cuts in our fire service and no programme of fire service closures introduced across Scotland?"

Ms Sturgeon failed to give the assurance, instead saying the government would work with the FBU and fire services “to make sure we are protecting those who keep us safe from fire”.

She said that despite the fall in uniformed fire safety inspectors, other classes of officer ensured “a national 24/7 capability to respond to fire safety-related matters”.

The government also raised the fire service's operational budget £21.7m this year, she said.

Mr Rowley it was “vital” there were no more cuts, adding: “This austerity is dangerous.”

Watch First Minister's Questions