The cuts being forced by central government are having a devastating impact on the emergency response to the communities of the West Midlands. West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) seen a budgetary cut of £28m during the course of the last parliament and expects a further loss of at least £10m over the next four years.
In an attempt to implement these cuts, WMFS intends to slash up to 300 firefighter posts, but will still try to maintain their current resources. The service hopes to use the goodwill of firefighters carrying out vast amount of overtime to make up the shortfall. The FBU believe that this is unsustainable and will make a lottery whether fire engines are available or not.
Andrew Scattergood, chair of the FBU in the West Midlands, said: “The cuts from the Westminster government have made it impossible to deliver a service that keeps the public safe. It will be absolutely disastrous if more posts go. We will have a rescue service in name only.
“The new staffing system that is being trialled in anticipation of the 300 job losses is already failing. At best it is unsuitable and insufficient, at worst it is dangerous and will cost lives.
“The FBU have warned that the new staffing system leaves the service dependent on the goodwill of firefighters to take overtime shifts. This has already resulted in shifts being understaffed and fire engines being left unavailable. The simple fact is that there are too few firefighters in the West Midlands.”