Fire Brigades Union Cambridgeshire

May 31, 2011 05:17 ET

Lib-Dem Opposition Not Enough to Stop Tories Pushing Through Worst Frontline Cuts Ever in History of Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service

CAMBRIDGESHIRE, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - May 31, 2011) - Cambridgeshire fire crews have vowed to continue to fight massive frontline cuts which they say will increase risk to the public and firefighters. They have urged the fire authority to "stop and think again".

The cuts include the loss of one in three full-time firefighters providing the immediate 999 emergency response. Spread more thinly, the public will have to wait longer for fire crews to arrive, inevitably increasing the risk to life and higher rates of property damage in a fire.

The cuts were pushed through at the fire authority meeting on Thursday 26th May in front of a packed gallery of firefighters, fire officers and emergency fire control staff who had braved the elements before the meeting to lobby against the proposals that:

  • Massively cut the overall capability and capacity of the fire & rescue service to deal with life-threatening emergencies;
  • Mean the public will wait longer for fire crews to arrive when they dial 999;
  • Cut 30% of the full-time firefighter force that provide immediate response to 999 calls and spreading them even more thinly across the county (including a 50% cut in full-time firefighters serving at Huntingdon);
  • Close at least one fire station and cut 8 fire engines crewed by retained firefighters at Manea, Soham, Ely, Burwell, Thorney, Gamlingay, St. Ives and Ramsey) and placing the loyal men and women serving those communities at risk of redundancy;
  • Cut nearly all the specialist vehicles currently used to deal with high rise emergencies, road traffic accidents and hazardous materials.

Kevin Napier, FBU Brigade Secretary:

"At first we were heartened to hear councillor after councillor - even the Conservatives - speak in opposition to frontline cuts and laying the blame for firmly at the door of the Coalition Government. It was also interesting to hear the Chief and Deputy Chief Fire Officer trying to defend why it was important to protect the senior management team from any cuts when their recommendations are to concentrate such savage cuts to the frontline service? Their answers were far from convincing. But then our hearts sank as the Conservative Councillors were content to use their majority to push through frontline cuts, the scale of which will inevitably place both the safety of the public and the safety of firefighters at significantly increased risk.

"We shall continue to campaign against the cuts and lobby the fire authority to stop and think again. But time is running out. Firefighters are a brave breed, we have the courage of our convictions and we will face this battle in the same spirit in which we face down the fires and other emergencies we tackle at work. It is simply not in our make-up to stand by while the professional service we are proud to give and our communities have the right to expect is dismantled. We urge the fire authority to stop and think again before it's too late."

Contact Information

  • Kevin Napier
    FBU Brigade Secretary
    07824 - 438858

    Phil McQuillen
    FBU Brigade Chair
    07920 - 799558

    Adrian Clarke
    FBU Regional Secretary
    07917 - 017713