Cornish firefighters oppose cuts

FIREFIGHTERS in Cornwall have slammed proposed cuts in the frontline Fire and Rescue Service which they say will compromise cover and put public safety at risk.

The cuts have been put forward by Cornwall County Council as part of plans to slash £196 million from the budget over the next four years.

The cuts include proposals to drive down firefighter numbers through “vacancy management”, introduce detrimental crewing systems, cut community safety work and make direct cuts to frontline cover by cutting fire officers, frontline firefighters and frontline fire engines in the county.

Also affected are training arrangements and support structures throughout the service.

Cornish firefighter and local FBU rep, Stuart Pulley, has demanded that these cuts be withdrawn and said: “These are irresponsible proposals to cut vital frontline emergency cover which the public rely on in times of need.

“Cornish firefighters have already suffered a series of cuts over recent years that have adversely affected our service and there is a huge reliance on the goodwill of firefighters to work in our own time in order to keep fire engines on the run and support community safety events.

“But enough is enough: our message to the County Council is clear ‘These cuts are dangerous, they will seriously affect public safety and we demand that they be withdrawn’.”

South West regional secretary Trevor French said: “These cuts are a direct result of political decisions taken by Cornwall County Council who would rather introduce council tax freezes than provide vital emergency cover to the citizens of Cornwall.

“The Council were warned of the consequences of their political game playing but they have pressed ahead, choosing politics over public safety.

“Now they have gone too far, the simple fact is that these cuts will compromise the safety of Cornish people and, on that basis, they must be withdrawn.

“Politicians are responsible for introducing these cuts and they can also reverse them. We will not pay for their cuts with our jobs, our service and the safety of firefighters and the public.”