Socialist Worker

Fighting fire cuts in Cambridgeshire

by Viv Smith
Issue No. 2254

Lobbying Peterborough Fire Authority last week (Pic: http://www.guysmallman.com/Guy Smallman )

Lobbying Peterborough Fire Authority last week (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Over 100 firefighters, fire officers and control staff protested outside the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority (CPFA) headquarters on Thursday of last week in a protest against cuts.

Firefighters from neighbouring brigades joined the protest in solidarity.

“Our message is clear,” Kevin Napier, Cambridge FBU union branch secretary told Socialist Worker. “We believe that financially driven cuts pose a danger to both the public and firefighters.”

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, spoke at the rally before workers packed into the public gallery.

“FBU members here and up and down the country are saying ‘enough is enough’,” he said.

Despite the protest, the CPFA voted through a

£5 million cuts package—the largest cuts to frontline emergency services in the history of the Cambridgeshire fire and rescue service.

“We are extremely disappointed at the decision,” Kevin added. “The CPFA has missed an opportunity to further explore the enormity of their decision. But they decided to push through the cuts.

“The level of party political posturing taking place was disgraceful. Firefighters are passionate about the service they provide, we are proud of the work we do. And we don’t want to see that destroyed.”

Closure

The cuts package includes the closure of Manea fire station, the downgrading of Huntingdon fire station, the introduction of a new duty system, the loss of at least 25 full time firefighter posts and the loss of specialist vehicles.

These are used to deal with high rise emergencies and road traffic accidents.

The FBU believes the cuts will have a detrimental effect on the response to emergencies, as it could take longer for fire crews to arrive after a 999 call.

Firefighters say that cuts that put lives at risk should not be made.


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Tue 31 May 2011, 18:33 BST
Issue No. 2254
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