A UNION is stepping up its campaign against multi-million-pound cuts to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).

The action follows the announcement that, in an effort to address a budget crisis, fire stations in Glasgow, Greenock, Hamilton, Dundee, Perth, and Fife will temporarily stop receiving appliances.

The SFRS is projected to receive a flat cash budget settlement from the Scottish Government for the next four years and is subsequently having to make £36 million pounds of cuts over this time, including £11m in 2023/4 alone.

This follows a decade of cuts since the formation of SFRS with the loss of over 1100 firefighter jobs, the closure of five control rooms and a 14% increase in response times per incident.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is now calling on its members and the communities they serve to lobby the government for increased investment and an end to the “systematic underfunding” of SFRS.

FBU Scottish Secretary John McKenzie said: “Recent events at Jenners in Edinburgh and Cannich in the Highlands show the dangers our members face.

“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is heading for a real crisis if the Scottish Government continues to underfund this essential public service.

“The withdrawal of appliances at these stations is the latest in a long line of cuts that are undermining our members’ ability to respond to incidents in the communities we serve. We cannot go on like this, enough is enough. 

“Over the coming weeks and months, we will be lobbying the Scottish Government, MSPs and local councillors to alert them to this crisis and seek their support to bring about change.

“There is no hiding place for our elected representatives any more, this is too important for that. They need to decide which side they are on - the side of communities and the firefighters who keep them safe or the side of those who put lives in danger through impossible budget allocations.”

Stations at Maryhill, Govan and Cowcaddens in Glasgow along with Hamilton, Greenock, Kingsway East in Dundee, Perth, Dunfermline, Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy and Methil have been ordered to remove fire appliances from service.

Gus Sproul, FBU Scotland Regional Chair, said: “The FBU has repeatedly raised our concerns about the impact of cuts to the number of fire appliances serving our communities.

“Make no mistake, fewer fire appliances and fewer firefighters mean that our communities are at greater risk. Our members who have recently attended major incidents in Fife and Tayside tell us that if they have to attend similar incidents in the future with one less appliance then lives and property will be put at significantly increased danger.”

Fife Council leader David Ross has tabled an emergency motion for discussion at Thursday’s meeting of the cabinet committee.

He said: “The proposals to withdraw appliances from Methil, Glenrothes, Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy are seriously concerning and we are asking the Scottish Fire and Rescue service to withdraw these plans immediately in the interests of public safety. Budget cuts cannot be made at the expense of the safety of people and buildings.”

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