Union warning over fire service cuts

Click to follow
Indy Politics

A fire service is planning to close one in four of its stations and axe a third of fire appliances under a cost-cutting drive, union leaders claimed today.

The Fire Brigades Union pledged to "strongly" resist cuts in Warwickshire, which it described as the biggest closure plan ever proposed by a fire service.

The union said the authority was planning to announce proposals to close seven fire stations and cut a third of all fire appliances in a move which would lead to the loss of 100 jobs of retained firefighters.

The planned cuts will be unveiled later today under a so-called Service Improvement Plan, said the FBU.

The stations proposed for closure are Studley, Bidford, Brinklow, Fenny Compton, Kenilworth, Warwick and Bedworth, said the union.

Appliances crewed by firefighters working retained duty will also be removed from Coleshill and Atherstone.

Mark Rattray, the FBU's Warwickshire brigade secretary, said: "The removal of fire engines from these stations will greatly increase the risk to the public and to firefighters.

"If they go ahead we could see towns and villages being left without any effective emergency rescue cover.

"The modern risks we prepare, plan and respond to go well beyond dealing with fires. This will impact on all the work we do in every part of Warwickshire, not only in the areas close to these stations.

"The result of these cuts will be far fewer firefighters spread much more thinly across the county. To call this a service improvement plan is an insult to the public and to professional fire crews.

"The FBU will vehemently oppose any downgrading or reduction of frontline services. We believe that the people of Warwickshire should not suffer cuts to frontline services."

A fire authority spokesman said no comment would be made ahead of a press conference planned for later today.

The union is involved in disputes in several parts of the UK over cuts, which has led to thousands of firefighters taking industrial action.

Comments