Peter Gardiner’s Speech on the Fire Service and Trading Standards during Budget debate

Mr Chairman,

I would like to speak on the Labour Amendment’s plans to reverse cuts made to the Fire Service.

Pushed through by the administration as a result of the IRMP and in the face of serious and genuine concerns of both Fire Service personnel and equally the general public, it will be no surprise that we would wish to reverse these cuts – in terms of the number of appliances and indeed the fire crews, both full time and on-call.

This would mean re-instating the full time crews and, in addition, to fund new full time day crews in Sudbury and Felixstowe.

This would help in the ‘prevent work’ inspections that are so important in preventing emergencies from occurring, and would also support the on-call teams in those areas – improving coverage and safety.

The administration also proposes cuts in the funding of Trading Standards, as well as Suffolk’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Both of these areas deal in particular with the more vulnerable in our society. Trading Standards, for example, has a vital role in trying to keep people aware of scams and cybercrime.

So cutting their support is a backwards step, bearing in mind the very good reputation the Suffolk Trading Standards team has locally and nationally.

Regarding cuts to the Citizens Advice Bureau, I can think of no action more regressive and backwards looking than cutting a service that provides advice to the public, advice that helps prevent financial difficulty, family breakdown and other serious issues, all of which have a very real impact on our communities – and many that have repercussions on the Council in terms of more expensive statutory costs.

SetWidth160-2013-05-14 Peter Gardiner informal WS

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