Fire Brigades Union Says 'Savage' Cuts Cost 1,000 Jobs
PRESS ASSOCIATION -- More than 1,000 firefighters' jobs have been axed under the Government's "savage" spending cuts, with fresh losses in the pipeline, the service's main trade union has warned.
One in 10 jobs could be lost in the next three years, leading to several thousand fewer firemen and women across the UK, the union said.
Research by the FBU, based on Freedom of Information Act questions, revealed that more than 1,000 jobs were lost in the first round of cuts to April, with the hardest hit areas including Scotland, the South West, Yorkshire and the West Midlands.
The FBU warned that the fire service will reach "breaking point" dealing with widespread incidents such as floods and wildfires.
General secretary Matt Wrack said: "Fewer fire crews means it will take longer for the fire engine to arrive in response to a 999 call. There will be ever-increasing risk to life, homes, businesses and our cultural and natural heritage as the cuts bite harder year after year.
"We've faced mass wildfires, terrible floods and freezing winter weather which stretched fire crews for weeks. How does the Government expect us to cope with big labour-intensive incidents with far fewer frontline fire crews?
"Claims that fire services can fall back on each other and pool resources don't stand up when the cuts are widespread. The overall pool of resources is being drained away and it will get worse year after year.
"David Cameron's promise not to cut frontline services has proved worthless. You don't get much more frontline than a 999 response and we're being cut to pieces.
"We're over-stretched now, and frontline crews are making it clear we'll be at breaking point when the cuts really bite over the next two years. The simple fact is that cuts cost lives."
The FBU said Government grants to fire and rescue service budgets are being slashed by 25% in the next four years, and that the job cuts - mostly losses through not replacing those who leave - cover retained and full time firefighters.