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29 January 2016
The replacement of one of two appliances with a targeted response vehicle at Sunderland central station - itself originally marked for closure - has prompted the Fire Brigades Union to say ‘enough is enough’.
“Tyne and Wear FBU is calling on the Home Office to show a firm commitment to the Fire & Rescue Service following the devastating cuts of around 30% which were imposed by the Department of Communities and Local Government,” said Tyne and Wear brigade secretary Russ King.
“As a result of these cuts, the Fire Service nationally have lost up to 6,700 firefighter posts and have seen the closures of 40 fire stations.
“Last year a campaign by the FBU and TUC, along with the Sunderland Echo and supported by Julie Elliott, successfully saved Sunderland Central Fire Station from being closed.
“However, due to the draconian cuts forced upon Tyne and Wear, that same station lost a fire fighting appliance along with five others from the service. On top of these cuts to the appliances was the reduction of 131 firefighters.
“The FBU is extremely concerned that if we are subjected to any future devastating cuts to the funding by this government, it would severely impact Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s ability to respond to emergencies.”
The statement came after firefighters took part in a demonstration against public sector cuts in Newcastle.
Firefighter Gordon Chalk said: “Hundreds of shoppers stopped to sign our petition.
“We got over 1,000 signatures in just over an hour and hundreds of leaflets describing the dangers of underfunding our emergency services were issued to supportive shoppers.
“Dozens of firefighters and NHS staff from around the region took part in the campaign and local police on the beat were also stopping to let us know they agreed with our campaign.”