The Fire Brigades Union has responded angrily to remarks made this morning by John Prescott who blamed firefighters and civil servants for the failure of the FiReControl project. The controversial programme to build regional control centres around the …

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The Fire Brigades Union has responded angrily to remarks made this morning by John Prescott who blamed firefighters and civil servants for the failure of the FiReControl project.

The controversial programme to build regional control centres around the UK was scrapped by the Coalition government last year after an eight-year campaign by the FBU, which consistently gave evidence to the CLG Select Committee, to civil servants and to ministers.

Speaking on the Today programme, the former Deputy Prime Minister shifted blame for the botched £496m project to civil servants rather than his government.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary said: “Only a minister who doesn’t know what’s going on blames others. Prescott has no excuse. He was told by the FBU, among others. He was clearly not doing his job properly.

“Instead of accepting his own central role in authoring and driving this disastrous project, he prefers to blame those who work in the service and pass the buck.

“The central failing of FiReControl was political. Prescott was the prime mover and the Secretary of State who could have ended the project at any point. The FBU was the only organisation to have warned from the beginning that the project was flawed.

“Certainly senior civil servants did continue to implement the project when they knew it was failing. Certainly, the private technology providers ripped off the public purse, as did the owners of the PFI-financed control rooms. But Prescott ignored our warnings.

“Now the current government is making the same mistake. It is closing control rooms, seeking to privatise the fire service and cutting firefighter jobs. It needs to learn the same lesson – stop these attacks and listen to the professional voice of the fire and rescue service – the FBU.”


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