This morning I attended a lobby of the Fire Authority in Humberside. FBU members were lobbying to protest at a series of cuts contained in the Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). An IRMP is supposed to asses the various risks to the community and then identify how the service will plan to respond to these. What IRMP generally consists of, however, is an assessment of the budget plans of the authority and how emergency cover can be reduced to match the cost savings required. This has nothing to do with planning for risk. Indeed the process should be re-named ICMP (Integrated Cost Management Planning) – but of course that would expose what is really happening to our fire and rescue service.
The Humberside councillors did reject one key proposal from the Chief Fire Officer – to reduce normal crew levels from 5 to 4 on most occasions. Nevertheless they did vote through (by a majority) a series of cuts which may lead to over 70 job losses. Our local brigade committee will now meet to discuss how to take our campaign further.
Well done to our officials and members in Humberside, who have opposed these cuts every step of the way. I am sure they will continue to do so.
Addressing the lobby
During the meeting, the Chair of the authority criticised the FBU for simply opposing cuts but not suggesting any alternatives, by which he meant alternative cuts. We have made clear that we do not accept the logic of the cuts in the fire service or anywhere else. It is most certainly not our job to suggest ways to devastate our service. What might be welcome would be to see some Chief Fire Officers and fire service politicians speaking up for our service instead of rushing to implement the cuts.
PS – travelling home and have just been forced to change trains due to mechanical problems. Joy!