A joint letter from Barbara and all the Labour MPs in Greater Manchester has been sent to the incoming Fire Minister to push for a stop to the cuts to the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, announced as part of the upcoming Government Spending Review process.
Barbara and the other 26 Labour MPs in Greater Manchester have also written to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to welcome the Mayor’s decision to defer plans to reduce funding for GM Fire Service but also to push for an increase to the budget from Government in the Spending Review.
Barbara has deep concerns about the proposed cuts which currently include:
- plans to change the number of fire fighters on appliances from five to four;
- the reduction in the number of pumps overall
- proposals to close some fire stations.
In their letters to Mayor Burnham and the Fire Minister the Labour MPs warn that the planned cuts could potentially put lives at risk; Greater Manchester has a large number of high rise blocks, there are the ongoing safety issues with the cladding of buildings post-Grenfell, the terrorist threat level is severe, there are still lessons to be learnt following the Manchester Arena Attack and last summer we experienced serious fires on moorland across Greater Manchester. This is in addition to the emergencies that the fire service attends each day. In Worsley & Eccles South we saw the quick and skilled response that the fire service provided during the tragic fire at Jackson Street in Walkden in 2017.
Barbara has pledged to help Andy Burnham to press the Conservative Government further to increase resources to Fire Services in Greater Manchester, given the large austerity cuts to fire budgets that Ministers have imposed over the last few years.
Barbara calls on the new Fire Minister to champion investment in the fire service.
“It is vital to our safety that this Conservative Government ensures that fire services in Greater Manchester have the funding to respond to emergencies. Austerity means that we now have half the number of firefighters in Manchester than we had 10 years ago.
“The cuts we have seen in the last decade come at a time when demand on the service is growing. The gross failure of the government to remedy dangerous cladding, means thousands of Greater Manchester residents are living in unsafe, non-fire regulation compliant buildings.
The challenges facing GM Fire Service, from post-Grenfell fire safety in clad buildings, moorland fires across Greater Manchester, the response to the Manchester Arena attack and the terrorist threat level mean that investment in the fire service should not be a political choice but a moral act.
“Conservative Ministers must act to end austerity and invest in local services so that residents can feel safe in their homes and our Fire Service can recover from years of underinvestment.”