Open letter to Brandon Lewis

22 December 2016

Three members of parliament have written to the minister responsible for the fire service telling him that the government must ‘stop cuts at once and give our firefighters the resources they need’.

Kerry McCarthy (Labour Bristol East), Thangham Debbonaire (Labour Bristol West) and Karin Smyth (Labour Bristol South) signed the letter condemning the 10,000 firefighter posts lost since 2010, which includes 150 jobs which have disappeared in the Avon fire service. Another 49 are planned to go.

“The government has slashed funding for our most important emergency services over the last few years. By pushing through further cuts, the government are failing to recognise the life-saving work which our firefighters do day-in-day-out,”commented Ms McCarthy.

Gary Spindler, the Avon Fire Brigades Union representative, said, “The MPs are reflecting the views of frontline firefighters that budget cuts have gone too far, a position that is supported by the majority of the Avon public. In the last few weeks we have collected over 2000 petition signatures against further cuts being planned for Avon Fire & Rescue Service.

“It is time for the government to recognise the importance of our fire and rescue services, which save the lives of around 40,000 people each year.”

He continued, “In addition to fires, firefighters regularly respond to traffic collisions, industrial accidents, medical emergencies, chemical spillages, terrorist incidents and civil disturbances. This government must now listen, and stop putting budget cuts ahead of public safety.”  

Original sources