Angry West Yorkshire fire crews have organised a rally and march around Leeds city centre to raise awareness and protest at the cuts being proposed to the front line emergency service.
This year’s proposed cuts include:
• closing 11 fire stations (and building just five new ones)
• a loss of 12 front line appliances
• the loss of 250 operational firefighters with another 20 of those being compulsory redundancies.
This is on top of last year’s cuts that the fire authority approved which were:
• close 10 fire stations (and build just five new ones)
• get rid of seven front line fire appliances and;
• reduce the number of operational fire fighters by 135, including 20 compulsory redundancies.
If the latest proposals are approved by the fire authority it will mean that in twelve months they have agreed to close 21 fire stations and replace them with just 10 new ones, there will be 19 less fire appliances to respond to emergencies and up to 350 less frontline firefighters available.
West Yorkshire FBU brigade secretary David Williams explained
“Firefighters are angry because these cuts will double the size of some station grounds which in turn will slow response times. In emergency situations every second counts, a few seconds delay can be the difference between saving a savable life or failing to save it. Small fires will develop into large fires and increase the risk to firefighters there to deal with them.
“West Yorkshire firefighters and members of the public will be marching to show those that sit on the fire authority the strength of feeling against these cuts. They also want to send a message back to central government that their false promises of no cuts to frontline services is absolute nonsense and in reality, as a result of them slashing budgets, emergency front line services are also being slashed to life threatening levels. All we are asking is a fair settlement to provide a fire service that’s fit for purpose for our communities”.
Media Contact: David Williams 07967105224
Rally to assemble outside of the Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds at 12.30 prompt
1st November 2012