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.
This budget is about the money that this Council has to spend and the ways in which it decides to spend it or not spend it. But the important issue is not the money itself but the effect that it has on people’s lives. We are not bringing this amendment because we have a pathological hatred of financial reserves, but because we have a deep-seated hatred of ill health, and poor education, and unsafe situations for children, and freezing homes for elderly people, and the despair that goes with a life where everything seems to be getting worse. And we resent seeing the Council sit on the financial means to deal with those issues, but do less and less each year.
Continue reading Cllr Sandy Martin Budget amendment speech
Further concerns about the impact of cuts to frontline services have been raised at a meeting of the Police and Crime panel.
The Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner announced that a further round of front-line service cuts will take place meaning 83 front line officers and 3 PCSOs will be made redundant with a further 38 staff members losing their job.
Continue reading Concerns over police sickness levels raised
Following the Suffolk County Council consultation on removing all full-time fire-fighters from Felixstowe Fire Station, local activists campaigning against the cuts have presented a petition to Council leaders. They are calling on SCC to cancel their plans.
1,079 signatures have been collected by local Labour Party members. Members of the public have been queuing up to sign the petition. They are concerned about the serious impact that the cuts to the number of fire-fighters will have on the service the Fire and Rescue Service can provide.
Continue reading Felixstowe Fire Station petition received
Following the announcement by Suffolk County Council of a consultation on cutting staffing numbers to zero full-time fire-fighters at Felixstowe Fire Station, Labour councillors are concerned at the impact on the response times and the devastating effect that could have on local residents and businesses.
Continue reading Felixstowe fire station response time concerns