Socialist Worker

Cornwall backing down over fire service cuts

Issue No. 2057

Marching in Truro against the cuts (Pic: Reuben Wallace)

Marching in Truro against the cuts (Pic: Reuben Wallace)

Firefighters in Cornwall are sensing victory in their campaign against threatened cuts to the fire service in the Falmouth and Camborne area.

Cornwall County Council met last week to debate and vote on the cuts package.

“It became clear early in the debate that the ruling Lib Dems were divided and did not have the votes required to force through the cuts package,” said John Drake, South West regional secretary for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

“A three hour debate raged with calls for the resignation of both the chief fire officer and Ken Yeo, the county councillor with responsibility for the fire service.

“The chair of the county council lost control of the meeting as amendments and counter amendments, points of order and motions were called and dismissed out of hand.

“A packed gallery watched with open mouths as the scene descended into near anarchy.

“An amendment was eventually carried to refer the service plan back to the chief fire officer for a risk assessment of the proposed cuts to be made and brought back to the full council.

“It wasn’t the easiest meeting to follow, but what it actually means is that there is no political will to force through these cuts. Though they are not yet killed off, they are gravely ill.

“The FBU will continue to campaign in Cornwall for improved funding for the fire and rescue service over the coming months.”

Last month saw several hundred firefighters and their supporters march through Truro against the neoliberal “modernisation” package that threatened £700,000 cuts to the fire service budget and the loss of one in six firefighter posts.

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Tue 26 Jun 2007, 18:38 BST
Issue No. 2057
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