UNION leaders have attacked the "spiralling" amount of money the Government is spending on new fire brigade control centres.
The criticism came after figures showed that consultants' fees topped £11.7m in the last year.
The Fire Brigades Union said the "staggering" amount was being paid at the same time as frontline firefighters' posts were being cut.
One of the controversial centres is to be based in West Yorkshire, covering the Yorkshire region.
Figures given to Labour MP John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) showed that money spent on consultants to the fire control project rose from £1.5m in 2003/4 to £9m in 2004/5 and £11.7m in the last financial year.
The union said the latest figures amounted to £32,000 a day, equivalent to a year's pay for a firefighter.
An FBU spokesman said: "Hundreds of frontline posts are being cut and it looks as though the money is going seamlessly into the pockets of consultants.
"The Government is paying through the nose for this work. It is a staggering amount of money, which is now spiralling.
"These figures show the amount of money being wasted on a project that no-one wants."
A Government spokesman said: "Communities and local government needs people in the short term with specialist skills to deliver the fire control project.
"Therefore, alongside civil servants and fire and rescue service personnel, we need to employ specialists.
"We have made public the figures on expenditure on consultants several times," he added.
"Once the centres are up and running they will improve fire service delivery with automatic control centre back-up and the provision of site and hazard information direct to the firefighting vehicles.
"They will help to save lives and should provide a significant saving in control centre running costs."
Under the £1bn project nine new centres will replace 46 control rooms in England.
The Government says the centres will deliver savings of about 30%, worth £20m a year.