Conservative ‘Blue-Light’ Motion reveals a serious lack of local accountability in future changes to County’s Fire Service

The Conservative Motion, which was proposed by Conservative Portfolio Holder for Public Protection, Cllr Matthew Hicks, at last weeks Full Council session, offered vague support for continued ‘Blue-Light’ reorganisation of Suffolk’s Fire Service.

The motion was amended by the Labour Group who called for decisions on any major changes to Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service be decided by a vote at Full Council. However, as any decision to bring the Fire service under the jurisdiction of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office can only be made by the PCC and the Home Office, the Labour amendment was itself amended by the Conservative Group. The twice amended Motion now promises to hold a debate at Full Council, but no vote will be allowed.

Labour Spokesperson for Public Protection, Peter Gardiner, said “We will always support the work done by our Fire Service. And we support the idea of ‘Blue-Light’ integration, but not at the expense of accountability. It has been confirmed by the Portfolio holder that Suffolk County Council and its elected representatives do not have any say in the decision-making process – this rings alarm bells.”

Labour Leader, Sandy Martin, said “What is the point of local democracy if such a major decision is not made by those elected to represent Suffolk people? Despite grandiose claims to the contrary, it has been proven once again that the Conservative Government simply does not care about localism and local concerns.”

setwidth160-2013-05-14-sandy-martin-informal-ws SetWidth160-2013-05-14 Peter Gardiner informal WS

(Left: Labour Leader, Sandy Martin; Right: Labour Spokesperson for Public Protection, Peter Gardiner)

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