Dismore challenges Mayor over Fire Cuts
At today’s Mayor’s Budget Question Time, Labour London Assembly and Fire Authority member Andrew Dismore AM challenged London Mayor Boris Johnson over his approach to cuts in the fire service.
Mr Dismore asked the Mayor:
‘Do you agree with LFEPA Resources Committee, that operational changes are best introduced, so far as possible, as part of a comprehensive package under the LSP6 fire service review and that any operational changes for 2016/17 should be kept to the minimum required to produce a balanced budget?’
‘As the LFEPA settlement has not clawed back pension contributions, this means the savings target has reduced by £2.8 million. Do you agree that proposed front line cuts can therefore be reduced accordingly?’
‘Your original cut to the Fire Brigade was £13.2 million. We now need to save from operational resources just £4.5 million due to other savings, the end of the FBU strike and the pension’s clawback. Under the LFEPA preferred option we can both remove from the alternate crewing proposals the remaining 2 FRUs and 1 of the aerial appliances and keep the 13 fire engines you want to cut. And even under your scheme, instead of 13 appliances being removed only 4 would need to go to meet your cuts, wouldn’t they?’
After question time, Mr Dismore said:
‘For the Mayor to say that my budget proposals are ‘not bad’ and that he wants to wait for the outcome of the consultation is disingenuous. The Mayor is being far more draconian towards the fire service than he needs to be. He is still going to insist on cutting 13 fire engines, irrespective of what the public consultation demonstrates the people of London would accept. Even on his figures only 4 would need to go, and on the Fire Authority’s preferred proposal none would need to go at all.
‘His dog in the manger approach to the Brigade is inexplicable, especially as he ceases to be Mayor in a few months’ time. One can only assume that he expects the Conservatives to lose control of City Hall and he is trying to store up problems for Sadiq Khan, when he becomes Mayor of London in May.’