Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in Staffordshire are fearing for the safety of their communities ahead of a meeting of the fire authority on Monday 13th July, when the fire and rescue service is expected to announce cuts of Â£5.7m by 2019/2020.
The announcement will follow a lengthy consultation process, but the FBU say their pleas for less draconian options that wonâ€™t compromise public safety have fallen on deaf ears.
Rich Williams, chair of the FBU in Staffordshire, said: â€œFirefighters here are extremely concerned at the prospect of further cuts â€“ they are just one choice given that the current fire and rescue service reserves are above Â£11m. Itâ€™s also a slap in the face for the taxpayer who has suffered a council tax increase this year and in return will get slashed fire cover and reduced resilience.â€
The meeting will also hear what the FBU call plans for â€˜ridiculous suggested savingsâ€™ from local Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis who the FBU claim has tried to influence the public and fire authority members by suggesting fire and rescue operations are run in partnership with police.
Rich Williams added: â€œPolice and crime commissioners donâ€™t understand fire and rescue work one bit. The public need to have total and utter trust in firefighters, who need access to peoplesâ€™ homes, not just for fire and rescue but for safety work such as smoke alarm advice. Working with the police would severely compromise this trust. It isnâ€™t the way forward and the FBU will never, ever agree to it.”
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