Heather Rawling, Leicester NUT (personal capacity)
A protest was organised by Leicestershire FBU at the county fire authority HQ in opposition to devastating cuts announced.
Unbelievably they propose closing Leicester Central Fire Station, responsible for around 1,300 to 1,600 call-outs in the city every year and Kibworth Fire Station, covering a wide rural location.
The money for frontline jobs and services could be found if there was a political will. Yet these cuts have been described as ‘tweaking’ by those proposing them!
A meeting of the Combined Fire Authority (CFA) was held in a spanking new office which cost around £8 million to build. There is also another building at Castle Donnington which cost £13 million to build which isn’t being used.
It is costing the taxpayer £5,000 a day to leave it empty. It was meant to be the new fire control centre for the East Midlands – part of a government plan to replace 46 local fire and rescue control rooms across the country with nine new regional centres.
The CFA includes seven Labour councillors but only two voted against the cuts. If the Labour councillors responded to Jeremy Corbyn’s call to resist cuts, they could use reserves in the CFA of over £370 million to buy time and build a massive campaign to demand more money from the government.
A massive campaign involving the FBU and the general public is needed to fight these cuts.
Gav Lynch, brigade chair FBU Leicestershire, reflected the shock felt at the proposals: “To put them into context, these cuts, in addition to the cuts already agreed earlier this year, amount to 188 operational posts being removed. That’s one third of all firefighters in Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service. Clearly this will have huge implications on public safety and firefighter safety.”