Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1053/29488
From The Socialist newspaper, 28 August 2019
Worcestershire: Stop the fire cuts!
photo Worcester Socialist Party (Click to enlarge)
Pete McNally, Worcester Socialist Party
On 21 August, over 80 people attended a protest at Bewdley fire station in Worcestershire against its closure. The protest was called by Save Bewdley Fire Station Campaign, which has collected over 2,000 signatures on its petition against closure.
We linked arms around the Fire Station and then held a public meeting. Neil Bevan of the Fire Brigades Union said: "We have a ten-minute attendance time and we only make that on 54% of the time, so by moving the appliance to Kidderminster and extending that by another two and a half minutes, that is going to be massively detrimental to the local community."
Service under strain
The population in the county is up by 40,000 but the Fire Authority plan is four appliances overnight, where a recent incident required six. Cover was being reverse-aligned to meet financial constraints.
There are 86 fewer firefighters in Hereford and Worcester than five years ago. In the recent dam incident in Derbyshire the crew stationed in nearby Kidderminster was sent there. Cover was provided by goodwill and overtime.
From the audience it was pointed out that other local services had closed, there was no bank, library, and the bus service was poor - a pattern of rural rundown. Every time a service is 're-configured' there was supposed to be an improvement, but it never happens.
Plans are being made to continue the campaign. The Socialist Party demands that closed fire stations are reopened, along with the reinstatement of any axed crews. The number of firefighters on duty at night to be 40, staff all appliances fully and permanently, and a minimum crew of five on all appliances. Councillors on the Fire and Rescue Authority must commit what funds are needed to run a safe and effective service, and commit to fight the government for these funds.
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
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In The Socialist 28 August 2019:
What we think
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Amazon fires: Big business is destroying the environment
Stop the latest Tory attack on our pensions
Notts child abuse scandal: Socialist Party demands action programme to prevent future cases
Knife and gun crime a product of poverty and austerity
International socialist news and analysis
Imperialist tensions escalate as world economy teeters
Italy: Governing coalition fractures as Salvini looks to capitalise on crisis
Interview with Sean Hoyle - left candidate in RMT general secretary election
Postal union ballots 100,000 workers for strike action
Strike action wins privatisation reprieve at Bradford hospitals
Barry Hospital workers fight to save ward from closure
Retail workers fight back against Scrooge bosses
DVSA workers strike for four weeks over conditions and workload
Merseyside Matalan workers walk out over pay deal
Liverpool RMT seafarers protest against super-exploitation
Probation hostel rest room win
Harland and Wolff occupation
Brexit and the border in Northern Ireland- will there be a return to the 'Troubles'?
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Lincolnshire health visitors' solidarity rally
Worcestershire: Stop the fire cuts!
Bangladeshi campaigners fight mining giant for justice
The Socialist Inbox
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