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Save our fire service!
Paul Couchman, Save Our Services in Surrey and Spelthorne Socialist Party
Hundreds are planning to march behind the Save Our Services banner on a demonstration on 7 December to save fire stations in Surrey. Unison, FBU and at least 10 other trade unions are mobilising for the demo, along with residents' associations and councillors.
I spoke to a local firefighter who has recently joined the Socialist Party: "I have served in the Fire Service for over 24 years. I remember the dismembering of communities in Scotland and the North of England and then Wales under Thatcher.
I am now watching a similar and often more ruthless government break apart a public service that works.
Nationally, firefighters are experiencing the theft of our pension rights. We will have to work longer and will get less in return!
"From the age of 55 I will have to attend annual medicals. If I do not reach the required lung capacity requirement I may be dismissed on the grounds of capability, thus losing what I have saved for in retirement.
"Here in Surrey, we are also facing service cuts as part of this 'smash n grab' Tory-led culture. We face the closure of two firestations in Spelthorne.
"Tory led Surrey county council propose to close both Sunbury and Staines fire stations and rebuild one in a new location offering one appliance less in the middle of this densely populated and busy quarter of the county.
"Because of all these attacks I felt the need to re-visit my beliefs. I have watched subsequent governments and councillors lining their own pockets as they watch people fail.
I feel for me the only way forward, the only credible voice in returning some sense to the debate and people to where they rightly belong is the Socialist Party."
The March to Save Spelthorne Fire Stations on Saturday 7 December is assembling at 11.30am at Sunbury Fire Station and marching through Ashford Town Centre to Staines Fire Station (opposite Ashford Hospital). Join us.