Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Firefighters warn of cuts danger

Firefighters are due to demonstrate outside Parliament to raise awareness of the 'deep damage' caused by austerity cuts

Firefighters are due to stage a protest to warn of the "growing threat" to the fire service by the Government's austerity cuts.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is holding a demonstration in Westminster to raise awareness of the "deep damage" inflicted by cutbacks on spending.

The union said around 1,500 frontline jobs have been axed since 2010, with plans for a further 6,000 losses by 2015.

The FBU warned that 17 fire stations faced closure in London, with dozens more under threat across the country.

General secretary Matt Wrack said: "Fire stations and fire engines are under threat. We need to call a halt, and get people to speak up for the service that protects them. When you're fighting fires, every second counts.

"The Government is acting as if it has nothing to do with it. It's all down to the local fire service, but it's the Government that's slashing budgets so fire authorities haven't got what they need to provide the service the public deserve.

"That means stations will close, fire engines will be axed and firefighters' jobs will go if planned cuts go ahead unchallenged."

The union, which is organising a lobby of MPs after the rally on Wednesday, said the fire service was already "cut to the bone".

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