Firefighters from all over the country are coming to the Houses of Parliament tomorrow (14 October) to lobby members of parliament about the future of the fire and rescue service amid huge concerns about public safety.
The firefighters, who are members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), are seeking the support of MPs to defend the fire and rescue service against the worst cuts it has ever known.Â More than 7000 frontline firefighter jobs have gone since 2010 as cuts of 30% have taken their toll, with even worse cuts to come.Â The FBU say more cuts will decimate the service.
Firefighters are also concerned about government proposals for Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to take over the fire and rescue service, as this would pose a huge threat to the independence of firefighters who rely on the publicâ€™s trust to enable them to access their homes. Â Law enforcement and the humanitarian service provided by firefighters donâ€™t mix, say the FBU.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: â€œFirefighters are extremely angry about what the last government and now this Tory government are doing to their service.Â This is why they are coming to Westminster to talk some sense into MPs about the governmentâ€™s senseless, dangerous agenda of cuts, cuts and more cuts.Â Public safety is already being put at risk, and itâ€™s set to get worse if the attacks continue â€“ just because there are fewer fires, it doesnâ€™t justify the longer responses times and reduced crews we are now seeing â€“ firefighters still need to arrive quickly in adequate numbers at the scene of an incident.
â€œAnd itâ€™s no accident that at the very time the government are cutting vital funding for the fire and rescue service that they are also trying to silence workers through the proposed Trade Union Bill â€“ our members will be talking to their MPs about this too.
â€œFirefighters do an invaluable, selfless job in our communities, and feelings are running very high amongst our members that this government is putting this crucial work, and in turn public safety, at risk.â€
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