Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

May 25, 2011 09:17 ET

Firefighters to Lobby Against Biggest Ever Proposed Cuts in History of Cambridgeshire's Frontline Fire Service

CAMBRIDGESHIRE, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - May 25, 2011) - Firefighters, Fire Officers and Emergency Fire Control Staff from across Cambridgeshire will gather at 12 midday tomorrow (Thursday 26th May 2011) at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Head Quarters in Huntingdon to lobby Members of the Fire Authority ahead of their 2pm meeting to decide the largest package of cuts to frontline emergency services ever seen in the history of the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Fire Brigades Union General Secretary Matt Wrack will be attending to address the lobby and to show the support of the national union behind the campaign against the frontline cuts.

The lobby will also be joined by delegations of firefighters representing neighbouring brigades across East Anglia from Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk in a show of solidarity and signalling the growing unrest of firefighters all over the country at the dangerous and financially driven destruction of the fire & rescue service, which they are convinced will put both public and firefighter safety at risk.

The cuts package affects all areas of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and include proposals that will detrimentally affect the delivery of blue light 999 response to emergencies. The cuts package includes proposals to potentially close and downgrade current fire stations which will mean the public waiting longer for fire crews to arrive when they dial 999. The proposals include the loss of specialist vehicles to deal with high rise emergencies and road traffic accidents as well as cuts in the numbers of firefighters and fire officers, spreading them even more thinly across the county.

Kevin Napier Cambridgeshire FBU Brigade Secretary said:

"Never in living memory has anyone working in the fire service in Cambridgeshire faced cuts of this magnitude and our members, the frontline professionals, are convinced both public and firefighter safety will be put at risk if the fire authority nod these proposals through. We have been holding meetings with FBU Members all over the county and to say there is strong opposition to these proposals is an understatement. Cambridgeshire's firefighters will not sit idly by while the fire and rescue service they, their families and their communities rely upon is decimated.

"These frontline cuts are being rushed through without closer attention being paid first to seeking out other unnecessary extravagances or waste. The frontline 999 service should be the last place for cuts to be considered. We are urging the newly formed fire authority to take a step back, to pause and take the time to think again. After all, very many of the new Elected Members sitting on the fire authority have only had a matter of days to get to know the complex workings of the fire service and to assess the serious impact their decisions on the proposed cuts will have. We urge the new fire authority to at least defer any decisions until they can make an informed assessment and can consult more widely with the constituents they represent and the professional fire crews who work on the frontline in their communities."

Matt Wrack FBU General Secretary said:

"FBU members here in Cambridgeshire and up and down the country are saying enough is enough. They are facing attacks on their pay, pensions and professional standards. But their public service ethos remains as resolute as ever and they will not stand by while the service their communities have the right to expect is dismantled. They are dedicated professionals who are prepared to risk their own lives in the service of their communities and they are rightly proud of the professional service they deliver and they will have my full support in their fight to maintain that".

FBU officials will be available for comment.

Footnote to Editors.

The following Early Day Motion has been tabled in Parliament:

EDM Tabled
1835 FUTURE OF CAMBRIDGESHIRE FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 19:5:11
Signed by 2 MPs

Dr Julian Huppert (http://www.dehavilland.co.uk/Verticals/PeoplePoint/PPBioStart.aspx?personID=7054936)

That this House notes with concern that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority will shortly be asked to consider proposals to cut wholetime and full-time equivalent firefighter jobs, reduce the number of fire appliances and the potential closure of fire stations in its efforts to save in excess of £4.2 million when figures from the Audit Commission show that Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service already spends the least per head of population on its fire services; further notes that the wholesale change in the membership of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority has left new members with only one week before being asked to take a decision on proposals that would have a profound impact on fire cover and front line firefighter jobs in Cambridgeshire; is concerned that these cuts would follow on from years of successful efficiency savings and coincide with a maximum 9.5 per cent. cut in the local government grant to Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2011-12; and calls on Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority to defer this decision until their next proposed meeting so that new members of the Fire Authority have sufficient time to properly scrutinise these controversial proposals.

[R] Relevant interest declared

McDonnell, John (http://www.dehavilland.co.uk/Verticals/PeoplePoint/PPBioStart.aspx?personID=1329) [R] Labour Party Hayes and Harlington 24.05.2011

Huppert, Julian (http://www.dehavilland.co.uk/Verticals/PeoplePoint/PPBioStart.aspx?personID=7054936) Liberal Democrats Cambridge 19.05.2011

Contact Information

  • For comment and interviews contact:
    Kevin Napier
    FBU Brigade Secretary
    07824 - 438858

    Phil McQuillen
    FBU Brigade Chair
    07920 - 799558

    Adrian Clarke
    FBU Regional Secretary
    07917 - 017713