The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has welcomed a decision by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) to resist an order by the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to begin the process of making savage cuts in the London Fire Brigade. The mayor wants to close 12 fire stations, remove 18 engines and slash 520 frontline firefighter posts in an attempt to save £45m.
In an unprecedented move, the mayor recently overturned a democratic decision of LFEPA, taken at a meeting on 21 January, to reject the cuts. Mr Johnson then instructed the fire commissioner, Ron Dobson, to ignore the vote and begin a public consultation exercise on the cuts.
However, at today’s emergency meeting of the authority, called in response to the mayor’s intervention, the commissioner conceded that he did not have the legal power to act on the mayor’s instruction without the approval of the authority and recommended that the authority delegate the required powers to enable him to begin consultation on the cuts. However, authority members voted by a majority not to accept the commissioner’s recommendation, meaning that the mayor’s cuts are again blocked.
Speaking after the meeting, the FBU’s regional secretary for London, Paul Embery, said,”Authority members did the right thing, and we applaud their stance. Hostility to the mayor’s planned cuts is growing by the day. The fire authority, the workforce, the public, the Greater London Assembly and even some Conservative councils have all expressed opposition to the cuts. The cuts would mean 4.7 million Londoners across twenty boroughs waiting longer for a fire engine, and that is dangerous and wrong. It’s about time the mayor grasped the nettle and abandoned his reckless plans.”
Contact: Paul Embery 07854 998 508