MAYOR DETERMINED TO SHUT FIRE STATIONS – FBU will resist cuts and closures

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A section of Monday’s lobby of the London Fire Authority when it voted against the cuts and closures
A section of Monday’s lobby of the London Fire Authority when it voted against the cuts and closures

ANY ‘Mayoral Directive’ issued by London mayor Johnson to force through savage cuts and closures in the London fire service will be fought ‘vigorously’, the FBU insisted yesterday.

Johnson condemned Monday’s vote by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority not to agree to a consultation on fire station closures, the cutting of appliances or the sacking of firefighters.

Johnson said: ‘LFEPA has a responsibility to deliver a balanced budget based on sensible plans for fire safety provision in the capital.

‘I am of course always willing to listen to submissions but it’s quite clear today’s decision offers nothing positive, indeed it demonstrates a complete lack of leadership.’

He stated: ‘This consultation will continue as planned. I will be issuing a Mayoral directive to ensure it does.’

The FBU responded that it welcomed the decision by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) to reject proposals to close 12 fire stations, remove 18 engines and slash 520 firefighter posts in the capital.

The FBU said: ‘The proposals, which were put to the authority yesterday by fire commissioner Ron Dobson and have the support of the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, were defeated by nine votes to eight, with only the Tory group voting in favour.

‘The Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green representatives voted against.

‘The stormy debate took place while the FBU held a rally outside, which was attended by 500 firefighters and members of the public.

‘However, the mayor has since declared that he will ignore the decision and force the cuts through.’

The FBU’s regional secretary for London, Paul Embery, said: ‘We welcome the decision of the fire authority to reject these reckless and dangerous cuts.

‘It was the right outcome. Boris Johnson’s intervention is deplorable.

‘It is arrogant in the extreme for the mayor to think he knows better than his own fire authority.

‘The mayor’s unprecedented move raises all sorts of questions about democracy and accountability.

‘He should listen to his fire authority; he should listen to the workforce; and he should listen to Londoners, the vast majority of whom oppose these cuts.

‘If he pushes ahead, we will campaign vigorously to defend London’s fire service.’