Under-resourced crews responding to floods without statutory duty

Responding to floodsin the North of England, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has called out under-resourcing of crews and called for a statutory duty for firefighters in England to respond to flooding.

Pete Smith, FBU executive council member for Yorkshire and Humberside, said:

“Our firefighters are working tirelessly on the ground to save lives, property, and communities in South Yorkshire, but the crews responding to this incident are, like firefighters across the country, overstretched and under-resourced. Firefighter numbers in South Yorkshire have been cut by 27% since 2010, and the government has cut our funding by £3.3 million. Worryingly, we have heard that South Yorkshire’s high-volume pumping appliance, vital for flooding response, was unavailable for a period due to staffing shortages. Firefighters are doing everything they can with what they have, but their work needs to be properly funded by government.”

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said:

“The hard work of firefighters responding to flooding across England is not currently recognised by government. Unlike in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, firefighters in England do not have a statutory duty to respond to flooding. That means there is no guarantee of proper national funding, training, or specialist equipment for crews on the ground, all while fire budgets and firefighter numbers have been slashed. When the Prime Minister inevitably comes posing for photos with hardworking firefighters, they won’t forget how much damage this government has done to them.”

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