Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Fire service cuts unacceptable

In response to proposals to cut frontline fire services, Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, said:
“Yesterday’s meeting of the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority’s executive panel considered cuts of £1.9m to balance the books in 2019-20. One option still on the table is to reduce services. In practical terms this could involve cutting one whole-time fire engine and crew from Wrexham and reducing services in other stations across the North.  
“Firefighters now deal with much more than just fires. They will deal with road accidents, rescues and the all-important role of fire prevention.  
“The threat to one of Wrexham’s two whole-time fire engines was seen off last year after mass protests. I’m sure that will be the case again if this proposal is put to the public. It’s clear that that engine is all-important in providing the necessary back-up in any fire incident as well as providing cover for retained stations that cover a large part of the region. The Welsh Government projects a steep increase in the local population yet funding for emergency services isn’t matching that. We need more joined-up thinking from this government.  
“I accept the Fire Authority faces a difficult decision – 10 years of cuts by central government are now really starting to bite and we have to re-double our efforts to scrap austerity for the good of all our public services such as health, education, the police and fire service.  
“However, the cuts being proposed by NWFRA are unacceptable and will put lives at risk. I can’t support that and the funding has to be found to maintain existing services. “Funding for the fire services, unlike the police, comes directly from councils who are also under huge financial pressures. 
"There is a case to be made for funding to come directly to the fire service through a local precept and this would enable the Fire Authority to make decisions with responsibility for revenue raising. 
"Whatever the method, it is vital that these jobs and services are not lost. And we must remind those who continue to advocate austerity that cuts cost lives.”

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