Fire Service Cuts still go too far

Cabinet papers still ignore the clear will of the public to halt Fire Service cuts

The clear message from the public in response to the Fire Service Consultation has been ignored by the Conservative Group at Suffolk County Council, claim Labour Councillors.

The consultation, alongside additional petitions and questionnaires, gave the responses of over 17,000 Suffolk residents and showed that the general public overwhelmingly reject plans to make any cuts to the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.

However, Cabinet Papers released today for next week’s session propose that the Conservative Cabinet reject the majority view and instead pick and mix the cuts to be made, based on focus group results.

Labour Group Leader, Sandy Martin, who has led public calls to reconsider the proposed cuts, said “In total, 16,736 of the total 17,230 respondents urged the Conservative administration not to cut our Fire Service.  As the backbone of the entire service, the resilience of the County’s Fire Service increasingly depends on the whole-time firefighters. There is no point in keeping stations open and appliances on call if there are not going to be firefighters available to make use of them when needed.”

Peter Gardiner, Labour Group Spokesperson for Public Protection, said “This was an excellent consultation, but it will be rendered pointless if the Conservatives decide to ignore the main argument made by the public. Plainly and clearly, the people of Suffolk have spoken – do not cut the Fire Service.”

Cllr Martin concluded by saying, “I urge the Conservative Cabinet and the Leader of the Council to listen to their electorate and reject these proposals to cut our Fire Service – the safety of homes and businesses in our County depends on keeping our firefighters.”

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