Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

October 10, 2011 07:42 ET

Cambridgeshire Firefighters Take to Streets to Gauge Public Support

CAMBRIDGESHIRE, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Oct. 10, 2011) - Firefighters from around Cambridgeshire took to the streets last weekend to see exactly what the public thought of them? In the counties towns and cities including Cambridge, Peterborough, Huntingdon and Manea amongst others where they questioned a wide cross section of the local community on the cost of the service and the value and social worth they provide in protection.

Kevin Napier, FBU Brigade Secretary for Cambridgeshire said, "Whilst the fire authority and management of the service were reluctant to seek a public referendum on the current funding for the fire service to the tax payer of Cambridgeshire and proposed cuts to the service, the FBU were keen to seek the opinion of those who pay for the service and what value they put on the dedicated work of the men and women who serve the county."

A questionnaire was handed out detailing the weekly cost of fire provision to the local taxpayer being equivalent to the cost of a loaf of bread and what increase there would be should the service ask for a rise in the council tax? By the estimation of Cambridgeshire fire and rescue service, a 1% rise would increase the cost by 58p to a band D tax payer and a 2% rise would equate to an increase of £1.45. Such increases could see up to an extra £400,000 being available for the brigade to maintain the current excellent service it offers and help to reduce any cuts that are resulting out of the reduction in government funding.

Phil McQuillen, FBU Brigade Chairman for Cambridgeshire added, "The return from the local people canvassed throughout the county covering all the various different communities that make up our major cities and more rural areas on Saturday was amazing. Overwhelmingly the service we provide as firefighters was recognised as incredible value for money but more importantly 99.4% of those asked said they would be willing to increase their council tax contributions to maintain their fire service in Cambridgeshire. Whilst there may well be no political will to apply an increase in public contribution the voice of the people has spoken and what they want is to keep the fire brigade they have always had that serves them well and one they have a right to expect. It is now for the elected members of the fire authority to react and act upon the public's concession and represent as they have been chosen to do."

The public clearly feared the outcome of potential cuts putting lives in danger and 98% of those spoken to call upon the management of Cambridgeshire fire and rescue service and the fire authority to immediately stop all frontline cuts and investigate other solutions.

Further discussions on the cuts within the fire and rescue service will be presented to the fire authority on Thursday 13 October at fire service headquarters. The FBU hopes that with savings already identified by the service and measures to generate further income the frontline provision can be maintained. Kevin Napier added, "As a brigade we have always shown an efficient way of working and offered our public the very best value for money. In doing so we have maintained an excellent service in the protection of the lives of the people of Cambridgeshire, it is vitally important we continue to do so."

Contact Information

  • Kevin Napier

    Phil McQuillen