Firefighters raise the alarm–deepening cuts to the fire and rescue service will cost lives. MPs and public urged to speak out to defend 999 fire service before it’s too late

Firefighters from across the UK will be in London tomorrow (Nov 7) to lobby MPs and alert the public to the growing threat posed to the fire service by the government’s relentless drive for austerity cuts.

The Fire Brigades Union is ratcheting up its campaign to raise public awareness of the deep damage the further cuts will inflict. Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary said: “The service is already cut down to the bone. The public has lost around 1,500 frontline firefighters since 2010 – and the government plans to cut another 6,000 by 2015. Fire stations and fire engines are under threat. We need to call a halt – and get people to speak up for the service that protects them. When you’re fighting fires, every second counts.”

The Parliamentary lobby is being held two days after the union took out adverts in national newspapers to raise public awareness of how further cuts threaten lives. Behind pictures of George Osborne and David Cameron, the words They Slash, You Burn are emblazoned. The advert addressed the public directly – spelling out that cuts endanger “our ability to protect the communities we serve” and “lives.”

Matt Wrack said the government’s refusal to face up to the damage cuts are already inflicting “reeks of complacency”. He added: “The government is acting as if it has nothing to do with it. It’s all down to the local fire service. But it’s the government that’s slashing budgets so fire authorities haven’t got what they need to provide the service the public deserve. That means stations will close, fire engines will be axed and firefighters’ jobs will go if planned cuts go ahead unchallenged.

“In London, 17 fire stations could face closure, and there are dozens more under threat throughout the country. We hope MPs will listen to our members – and we are calling on members of the public who fear for their local stations to write to their MPs now. We can’t just sit back and accept these attacks on our world class fire and rescue service.”

For interviews and more information contact:
Helen Hague 07889 792360

OPERATIONAL NOTE: The lobby of MPs will follow on from a rally at Central Hall Westminster. Matt Wrack FBU general secretary, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary and MPs Kate Hoey and John McDonnell are scheduled to speak.

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