THE BLOG

Profit Before People: Over 200 Firefighters Condemn Government Cuts in Open Letter to Voters

12/04/2015 20:09 BST | Updated 09/06/2015 10:59 BST

The open letter from 100 business leaders published in the Telegraph confirmed what we all know, big business prefers the Tories but in the run up the election in May lets not get distracted by business leaders pursuing their selfish interests.

The public sector has suffered savage cuts both in terms of the numbers employed in the sector and the funding it receives. Public sector strikes have been widely covered in the media and no more so than those of the fire and rescue service. Since the coalition government came to power in 2010, the service has lost over 5,000 full-time fire fighters, 145 fire appliances and 1-in-7 control room jobs; all due to cuts imposed under the government's Comprehensive Spending Review.

Nearly 250 firefighters have signed an open letter to voters to highlight the significant challenges and pressure they have faced under the coalition government programme of relentless public sector cuts and how these cuts have put lives at risk:

Dear voters,

We are at the forefront of the emergency services in this country. We believe under no uncertain terms that the coalition government led by David Cameron's Conservative party have been nothing but detrimental to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Fire Service that you have every right to expect.

David Cameron and George Osborne have continued a sustained and vicious attack on all frontline emergency services for 5 years. The lowering of Fire Service budgets across the country by 20% has caused nothing but a heightened risk to firefighters and the public they serve. This along with attacks on the NHS, The Police and Coastguard has been a key part of their 'profit before people' economic plan.

The result for the Fire Service has been that since 2010, 39 Fire Stations have closed, 145 Fire Engines have been scrapped and over 5000 firefighter positions have been axed. This has raised response time considerably to the point that some Brigades have dropped the 5 minute maximum response times that we were once so proud of and that has saved thousands of lives. Under this governments attitude to the public services, people's lives are at very serious risk of being lost completely unnecessarily.

We are convinced that this has put all members of the public at serious risk. We believe that a serious change of course is desperately needed in order for us to do our jobs effectively and to prevent losing saveable lives.

The letter was written by Andrew, a serving firefighter of 8 years. Andrew told me his letter was motivated by frustration and concern over these 'ideologically driven' austerity cuts and the impact they are having on the service.

Firefighters put their lives at risk every day to keep us safe and we must not condone these savage cuts which are putting the very essence of the service in jeopardy. When your house is on fire, when you are trapped in a vehicle, when your property is severely damaged who are you going to call? It certainly won't be Tory HQ.




We need to use our vote in May to send a message to the Tories and Liberal Democrats... Hands off our fire and rescue service and let these hero's do their job!




You can view the letter and those who have signed it at https://theutopianfirefighter.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/the-firefighter-letter/



You can follow Andrew's tweets at https://twitter.com/utopianfireman