Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Challenge to fire engine cuts plan

Plans by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority to consult again on cutting one of Wrexham's two whole-time fire engines are being challenged 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 Marc Jones, Plaid Cymru's leader on Wrexham Council, led the protests last year against the cuts. He said:
"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 a hell of a fight.
"I want us to fight this proposal locally and in Westminster. It's clear the Tories don't have a mandate for ongoing cuts to public services here in Wales. Our emergency services, whether it's fire, police or ambulance crews, don't come cheap. These are well-trained, experienced experts doing a great job under very difficult circumstances."
Cllr Jones is to ask the council's new executive board at its meeting next Tuesday to continue to back opposition to the proposed cut. He added:

"The council made it very clear last year that it was opposed to the cut and it would be good to re-affirm its opposition to proposals to axe 24 full-time jobs and one of Wrexham's two whole-time fire engines in light of this new consultation.
"Given that the six councils also provide the funding for the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority, we as elected members need to ensure it has sufficient funding to continue the level of service in the Wrexham area. I'd like our council to insist that the NWFRA re-examines its own senior staffing arrangements and spending commitments prior to any cuts to frontline services."

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