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Firefighters travel more than 100 miles to cover shifts

A Freedom of Information request by the Lib Dems revealed the distance some staff have travelled in the north-east of Scotland.

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Firefighters have had to travel more than 100 miles to cover shifts last year, the Lib Dems say (Andrew Millligan/PA)

Firefighters have had to travel more than 100 miles to cover shifts last year, the Lib Dems say (Andrew Millligan/PA)

Firefighters have had to travel more than 100 miles to cover shifts last year, the Lib Dems say (Andrew Millligan/PA)

Firefighters have occasionally travelled more than 100 miles across Scotland to cover shifts, it has been revealed.

A Freedom of Information request found that last year there were firefighters travelling from Aberdeenshire and Moray to cover shifts in Aberdeen, with some brought in from as far afield as Inverness and Dundee.

The Lib Dems’ request found that during 2017-18 there were 159 staff – on 143 occasions – from the Aberdeenshire Moray area on duty in Aberdeen.

It also found that six staff from Inverness covered in Aberdeen on two separate days and three people from Dundee over two consecutive days.

North-east MSP Mike Rumbles said: “Our fire service is under real pressure in the North East.

“These figures show firefighters travelling over 100 miles to cover shifts, while staff are regularly being pulled into Aberdeen from the surrounding areas.

“Nationwide more than 1,000 firefighters have been lost since the SNP’s merger.

“Budgets have fallen in real terms while ministers have been cavalier about where the almost £400 million needed to maintain and invest in the service’s property, vehicles and equipment is going to come from.

“Ministers must not allow the service in the nort-east to become threadbare.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The provision of fire and rescue resources is an operational matter for the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS).
 
“In 2019-20 we will increase the funding to SFRS by £5.5 million to invest in service transformation plans. This is on top of the £15.5 million additional spending power provided this year – a level of funding not matched anywhere else in the UK.”

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