FBU members say government is putting members of the public at risk

FBU members in Parliament, December 2014

FBU members in Parliament, December 2014

Firefighters from all over the country are this lunchtime coming to the Houses of Parliament to lobby members of parliament about the future of the fire and rescue service amid huge concerns about public safety.

The FBU members are seeking the support of MPs to defend the fire and rescue service against the worst cuts it has ever known.  More than 7,000 frontline firefighter jobs have gone since 2010 as cuts of 30% have taken their toll, with even worse cuts to come.  The FBU say more cuts will decimate the service.

Firefighters are also concerned about government proposals for Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to take over the fire and rescue service, as this would pose a huge threat to the independence of firefighters who rely on the public’s trust to enable them to access their homes.  Law enforcement and the humanitarian service provided by firefighters don’t mix, say the FBU.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Firefighters are extremely angry about what the last government and now this Tory government are doing to their service.  This is why they are coming to Westminster to talk some sense into MPs about the government’s senseless, dangerous agenda of cuts, cuts and more cuts.

“Public safety is already being put at risk, and it’s set to get worse if the attacks continue – just because there are fewer fires, it doesn’t justify the longer responses times and reduced crews we are now seeing – firefighters still need to arrive quickly in adequate numbers at the scene of an incident.

“And it’s no accident that at the very time the government are cutting vital funding for the fire and rescue service that they are also trying to silence workers through the proposed Trade Union Bill – our members will be talking to their MPs about this too.

“Firefighters do an invaluable, selfless job in our communities, and feelings are running very high amongst our members that this government is putting this crucial work, and in turn public safety, at risk.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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