Fire service 'not fit for purpose' if cuts are given the go ahead

Warwickshire’s fire service will not be ‘fit for purpose’ if its budget is slashed by another 20%, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has warned today.

The leader of Warwickshire County Council, Izzi Seccombe, is expected to unveil the cost-cutting plan at a council meeting this Thursday (22 September). The FBU in Warwickshire has called for fire services to be ring-fenced as the service has already been disproportionally hit by funding cuts. Last year, of the 70 jobs cut by the council, 24 of those were from within the fire service.

The proposals come at a difficult time for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service who, since 2010, have had a quarter of all funding slashed with the result that three fire stations have closed and 90 firefighter posts have been axed. If the latest round of cuts is given the go ahead, it will mean that funding to the fire service will have been nearly halved. FBU representatives say at least three fire engines will be cut with the risk of more fire station closures.

Marcus Giles, secretary of the FBU in Warwickshire, said: “We have already been slashed to the bone. If more firefighter jobs are cut, the fire service will not be able to meet its primary goal – to save lives in an emergency. The time it takes to get fire crews to an emergency will undoubtedly increase. The people of Warwickshire deserve a service that will keep them safe. More cuts will mean an increased risk to life which is unacceptable.”

The FBU has pointed out that Warwickshire fire service is being run on a shoe-string when compared to neighbouring services. In Shropshire, for example, the service is funded annually at £94 per household. In Hereford and Worcester, that figure stands at £78 per household. In Warwickshire, the fire service receives just £58 per household.

Representatives from fire stations across the county will be demonstrating outside the council meeting taking place at Shire Hall, Warwick, CV34 4SA from 9AM on Thursday, 22 September 2016.

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