Guest column: Fire services need our support not more Government cuts

John Mann MP
John Mann MP

Earlier this year, the tragedy of Grenfell Tower shocked the country and the fire services were applauded for their bravery and dedication to try and rescue as many people as possible.

Last week, the Combined Fire Authority approved proposals to consult on staffing changes at Worksop and Retford fire stations that will result in reduced cover and increased response times.

Over the past seven years, the cuts to public service and austerity measures enacted by this Government have stripped the resources available to the fire services to the bare minimum and are continuing to be cut further.

These are dangerous and will have a harmful impact on the firefighters and all of those who rely on their life-saving services, in my view.

It is alarming that the chief fire officer is proposing these cuts but also wanting to change the personnel to rely on part-time fire crews and the retained duty system to make up for the shortfall in staff.

These personnel are employed on a zero-hours contract and in some cases do not have the required equipment in order to deal with an incident.

It is shocking that the chief fire officer feels comfortable with members of the retained duty system not being able to respond to callouts regarding heights or a chimney fire because they have not been trained in this area.

This will put more pressure on full-time fire services and will result in firefighters being unable to effectively respond to every incident they are needed for, I feel.

In my opinion these proposed changes mean that the fire crews will not be able to respond safely to incidents that they are called to.

All the fire safety operating procedures need five crew on a fire appliance but with these proposals, the number of those able to respond will be reduced to three.

These two firefighters that are lost makes the responding times longer, puts more pressure on the remaining crew and in some cases could be the difference between life and death.

The proposal now enters a 12-week consultation during which I intend, with the Worksop and Retford residents and the local representatives of the FBU, to fight these proposed cuts.

You can find links to the consultation on my social media platforms and I urge you to respond to this to fight these proposed cuts.

Before the September recess, I was elected as the chairman of the Treasury sub-committee and I will be using this position to focus on a variety of issues.

I will be focusing on the scam of car financing in the country today, where customers are made false promises when they purchase their cars and dealers exploit them to benefit their own commission rates.

If you have had a bad experience of buying your car on finance from a dealer, please contact me at mannj@parliament.uk.