Wednesday, 31 May 2017

New bid to scrap Wrexham's fire engine

Plans by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority to consult again on cutting one of Wrexham's two whole-time fire engines have been condemned by Plaid Cymru.

The original bid to cut the fire engine was shelved in March 2017 because of public opposition. Thousands signed petitions, protested and marched through the town to oppose the cut.

Now the new fire authority is coming back to consult again on the matter, which would lead to the loss of 24 full-time firefighters' jobs.

Councillor Carrie Harper, Plaid Cymru's candidate for Wrexham in the General Election, said:
"The Fire Authority is claiming that Wrexham has got three fire engines. In fact it's got three pumps but only two are on the road and crewed because the other is crewed by retained staff and they can't get enough retained firefighters. So it's off the road and Wrexham only has two operational pumps.
"Getting rid of one of those will HALVE the capability to respond to road accidents, industrial accidents, incidents at the new prison and ongoing arsons. Wrexham's crews also cover as far afield as Cerrigydrudion, Ruthin and Bala. Our loss would also be their loss because the retained crews there rely on Wrexham's full-timers.
"When we talk about austerity and Tory cuts, this is the sharp end of those cuts. There have been years of underfunding that have led to this drastic decision. The money being taken out of public services is hitting frontline services and our normally talkative Tory candidate locally is silent on the matter.
"Well I and my Plaid Cymru colleagues don't intend to be silent on this matter. We will fight for a properly funded fire service and do all we can - both locally and in London - to defend our public services and keep jobs in our town.
"This is why we have to defeat the Tories in this election - another five years will see many more public services disappear and disintegrate as they starve them of funding. Our emergency services, whether it's fire, police or ambulance crews, don't come cheap. These are well-trained, experienced experts doing a hell of a job under very difficult circumstances.
"I pledge that if I'm elected as Wrexham's next MP I will be their champion in London and stand up for our public services."
Plaid Cymru's councillor Marc Jones, who led the protests last year against the cuts, said:
"Here we go again - the fire authority is looking to cut services despite huge public opposition. Wrexham's public, together with the Fire Brigades Union and the help of councillors, fought them off once. If we have to do it again, we will. Wrexham's firefighters are very much part of the community, we value their service and we won't lose that service without an almighty fight.
"This should be at the forefront of people's minds when they vote next Thursday - do you want investment in our town and our public services or do you want another five years of ever-more damaging cuts? It's a very stark choice."

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