Government urged to reverse ‘decade of cuts’ to fire service
The Government is being urged to reverse a “decade of cuts” to the fire service which union leaders warn have left it in crisis.
The Fire Brigades Union said the number of firefighters has increased by 1%, or 318, this year, meaning there are still nearly 11,500 fewer than in 2010.
The union said there has been a 19% cut in frontline firefighters since the Conservatives took office, while incidents such as wildfires and flooding have increased.
Overall spending on UK fire and rescue services has fallen by 38% since 2005, said the FBU.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “This shameless Government is doing nothing to ease the pressure on overstretched and underpaid firefighters, all while making dubious claims of spending elsewhere.
“Fire and rescue services are in crisis after years of brutal cuts and this year’s measly increase in posts is wholly insufficient to plug the gaps.
“We cannot allow firefighters’ life-saving work to go unrecognised.
“The Chancellor must fund firefighter recruitment and end the years of real-term pay cuts for firefighters. Our communities need more firefighters and the Government needs to reflect the work they do in their paycheques.
“If this Government is serious about tackling the climate emergency, it needs to invest in our frontline defences and it is firefighters who are tackling wildfires and rescuing people stranded in flooding.”