Over thirty Manchester firefighters took their fight to Parliament today to lobby MPs against Mayor Andy Burnham’s proposed cuts to Greater Manchester fire and rescue service.
The lobby comes amidst news that the Mayor’s office is considering deferring one small part of the cuts until the next spending review, in hope of receiving more funding.
More than 12,000 people have signed a petition against the proposals, which could see the city lose nine fire engines, cut 194 firefighter jobs, reduce crewing levels on each engine from five to four, close six fire stations to build only three more, and cut non-uniformed staff.
Gary Keary, FBU Greater Manchester secretary, said:
“Firefighters have warned from the start that these cuts will lead to slower response times and more preventable deaths and injuries. It’s great to have Labour MPs from Greater Manchester and beyond supporting our campaign. They can see how dangerous these proposals are, so why can’t our Labour Mayor, Andy Burnham?
“We hope the Mayor’s office is now beginning to recognise that we are the professional voice of firefighters. But simply deferring one small part of the damaging cuts to our fire and rescue service isn’t enough.
“Five firefighters is the minimum safe number of firefighters required on a fire engine, and we want a cast iron guarantee that this safe level of crewing will be maintained. In a service with fewer firefighters, fewer fire engines, and fewer non-uniformed staff, the public will be left exposed, regardless of any possible deferrals.”
More than a dozen MPs from Greater Manchester and beyond attended including Rebecca Long-Bailey, the Shadow Business Secretary; Karen Lee, the Shadow Fire Minister; Lucy Powell; Jeff Smith; Jonathan Reynolds; Liz McInnes; Andrew Gwynne; Mike Kane; Barbara Keeley; Jim McMahon; Kate Green; Tony Lloyd; Afzal Khan; Graham Stringer and a representative from Jeremy Corbyn’s office.