Guest column: Our brave firefighters deserve proper support and pay

John Mann MP
John Mann MP

Congratulations to the fire crews who sped to the fire on Sandy Lane in Worksop this week to deal with the massive fire.

Around 50 firefighters were dealing with the fire at its height, with crews from South Yorkshire and Derbyshire joining Nottinghamshire firefighters.

It was a massive job, not just to contain and put out the fire on the day, but to then slowly soak the smouldering plastic the next day.

The risk the firefighters were exposed to, with the fire and toxic fumes, is a reminder – in case anyone needed one – of the service they routinely provide to us all.

The Early Day Parliamentary Motion I put forward straight after the election now has the support of almost 50 MPs.

My motion pays tribute to the bravery of firefighters and was submitted just after the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower.

The fire in Worksop this week is an example of how they tackle dangerous situations up and down the country every day.

They have had a cut in living standards over recent years and I am pushing for them to receive the pay and job security they deserve.

I have also called on our Fire Authority to make health and safety their number one priority and guarantee the existing 24-hour cover 
with no reduction in 
staffing.

I had a meeting this week with a Government minister about a separate site on Sandy Lane, which was abandoned in October 2016.

This site is quite different to the one which had the fire this week and is the result of different agencies sitting on their hands and not taking action.

It presents a serious risk of fire and I told the minister this week to get on with sorting it out.

Last week I met with the Government minister responsible for roads to raise the serious issue of safety on the A1.

I have been pressuring the Government on this for some time, including asking for a full safety review following a fatal crash in March.

At this meeting I kept the pressure up on the Government, going into the summer, to continue making the A1 safer by improving junctions, lorry parks and building more bridges.

I met with another Government minister this week to discuss improvements at Ranby Prison.

There have been a number of issues at the prison, including for the staff.

Back in 2014 I met with the Chief Inspector of Prisons, the governor of Ranby and the Prisons Minister and repeatedly raised my concerns about the problems with staff morale, prisoners accessing mobile phones and drugs, and safety.

We need to be smart with our prisons, including getting prisoners to properly work.

That would suit us all – prisoners pay back for their crimes and learn some skills for employment when they leave.