Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

December 20, 2012 19:26 ET

Firefighters Raise the Alarm Over Threat to the Fire and Rescue Service Revealed in Government Figures

LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Dec. 20, 2012) - Deep cuts inflicted on the Fire and Rescue Service laid bare in government figures threaten to strike at the heart of the service provided to the public, the Fire Brigades Union is warning.

Funding figures published as part of the local government settlement show that Metropolitan and combined fire and rescue services in England face a whopping 4.4% cut for next year (2013-14) and another 3.1% the following year (2014-15).

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary said: "Services are already being cut to the bone. Frontline services are already under attack. Fire engines are being removed from stations, response times are slowing. When your house is on fire, every second counts. The cuts are already biting - yet more are threatened."

The Westminster government has carried out its threat to backload cuts to the fire and rescue service, making the next two years worse than the last two. Cuts in 2011-12 were 2.2%, while in 2012-13 budgets were cut by 0.5%. With council tax frozen for a third year, the bulk of the new cuts are because central government has reduced its central grant, hitting the most vulnerable communities hardest.

Wrack said: "Unless we stop the rot, and invest in the front line, we'll look back in a few years time wondering how on earth we allowed the reckless dismemberment of the fire and rescue service.

"Sir Ken Knight's government-inspired review must not be used to cloak further front line cut backs. You can't run a fleet of fire engines on shared costs and back office savings. As firefighting professionals, it's our job to raise the alarm, and alert the public to what's going on before it's too late."

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