Herts politicians consider plans to cut a further 50 firefighter jobs

Hertfordshire’s politicians have revealed that they plan to make a further round of cuts to the county’s fire and rescue service despite the government commitment to ‘end austerity’.

The draft integrated risk management plan (IRMP) for the next five years sets out a raft of proposals that firefighters say are a smoke screen for cutting more of the county’s firefighter jobs and replacing fire engines with small vans that carry far less equipment and people.

Hertfordshire Fire Brigades Union secretary Daren Scotchford said: “We are quite staggered to hear that more of our firefighters are to lose their jobs when we have already lost over 150 posts in the last round of savage cuts. Our elected leaders are quick to come out and praise us when a Grenfell or Newgrange care home incident happens but they soon return to their offices to plot the next swingeing cuts; frankly, it’s shocking behaviour.”

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has experienced a 5% increase in call numbers in the last year alone. The number of injuries sustained as a result of fire have nearly doubled in five years and, most tragically of all, three times as many Hertfordshire residents died this past year when compared to the previous year: this is the highest number of deaths from fire in Hertfordshire for five years.

Last summer was one of the busiest for several years. Firefighters were praised for rescuing 30 elderly residents at a care home in Cheshunt where a serious fire stretched resources to almost breaking point.

The communities of Hertfordshire deserve better and we will work relentlessly to stop these cuts.

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