Firefighters fear increasing budget cuts

By Émer O’Toole, News Editor

The Fire Brigades Union’s ‘Ring of Fire’ tour came to Glasgow this month to highlight the impact austerity is having on the fire and rescue service.

The 20 date nationwide tour plans to promote the union’s recently published report ‘Sounding the alarm: the future of our fire and rescue service’ which revealed that since 2010 funding for the service been cut by over 20% with 5,000 frontline firefighters cut and 999 emergency response times increasing significantly.

Roddy Robertson, Executive Council Member for Scotland, spoke of how the tour will raise awareness of the effects Westminster austerity has brought.

He said: “The responsibility for fire lies with the Scottish government. “The cuts have had a knock on effect for fire services north and south of the border. We have tried to protect the front line services against the worst but we can’t continue. We are asking people to help us save our fire and rescue service.”

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, added: “Firefighters want to warn the public about the threat to the UK fire and rescue service from central government cut backs.

“Firefighters want to continue doing a great job but their profession is being undermined by deep cuts to the service. “I urge the public to come to their local event and talk to firefighters about the threat to their profession.”

In Scotland, there are 500 firefighters less in post than in 2010 and the eight fire control centres will be reduced to three over a five year period. Firefighters were joined in St Enoch’s Square by leading union figures, local politicians and up and coming musician Oliver Richards.

Further cuts of 7.5 per cent are planned for 2015-16 and attempts to privatise the fire and rescue service is predicted to cause further problems.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);