'Proposals not fit for purpose' - FBU secretary slams fire cuts

PUBLISHED: 11:38 28 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:38 28 June 2019

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service HQ. Picture: Callum Lawton

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service HQ. Picture: Callum Lawton

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Jamie Leslie, fire brigade secretary for the Fire Brigade Union, was speaking at a meeting of the fire service authority.

Proposals for closure of fire stations across Devon and Somerset have been branded 'not fit for purpose' by the Fire Brigade Union (FBU).

Jamie Leslie, fire brigade secretary of the union, was speaking at an emotionally-chared fire service authority meeting at headquarters in Clyst St George this morning.

Members of the committee were discussing proposals to put six options for the future of fire services out to public consultation.

All of the options will see a number of stations across the region close, including Budleigh Salterton, Topsham and Colyton.

At the meeting, Mr Leslie said the proposal represented the 'biggest cuts to front line services anywhere in the country'.

He said: "We cannot endorse them either as a union or an authority.

"The service needs to look again at its plans, and properly consult with the union.

"We have been asking for months to see the proposals and hold talks around them.

"We have been put off time and again, and only got to see them an hour before they were made public, this is simply not good enough.

Mr Leslie suggested the unavailability of on-call appliances needs to be addressed first rather than 'simply shutting stations and removing pumps'.

He said "There is a vague promise that shutting stations will somehow make the on call model work better, again with no detail.

"We are left to trust that money will be reinvested, with no clue how or how much.

"I also urge you to look closely at the data you are being presented with."

"Some of the figures around reducing incidents are national trends, or over a 17-year period.

"It is important to see the current trend in Devon and Somerset, and that has been stable or on the rise over the last three years.

"I am well aware of all the time and expense that has gone into the preparation of this paper and the pending consultation.

"I call on the fire authority to ask the service to look again at this proposal, and come back with one that truly delivers on its promise to improve the safety of the residents of Devon and Somerset."

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