Dismore questions Fire Commissioner and Chair of Fire Authority over future of London Fire Brigade

At today’s London Assembly plenary session, focussing on the work of the London Fire Brigade, Andrew Dismore AM, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden questioned Dany Cotton, London Fire Brigade Commissioner and the Chair of the Fire Authority (LFEPA) Fiona Twycross over the future funding of the Fire Brigade and the challenges it faces. (video here)

Mr Dismore said:

‘After the Government refused to provide extra funding for the fire brigade post Grenfell, either for the extra equipment needed or for the running costs of the Brigade, the Mayor’s decision to step in and provide extra funding for LFB, sharing the council tax increase with the Met. is welcome, as this will secure the LFB’s finances until 2020. However, there will be a budget gap after that: the budget gap is expected to be £12 million in 2021 and 2022; and some of the original ideas for savings have had to be shelved in the light of Grenfell.

‘Since 2010, £130 million was cut from the LFB budget under the Conservatives which led to the loss of fire engines, fire stations and firelighters’ jobs; and the Anthony Mayer Review, published in October 2016, recommended that there should be no further cuts to LFB and that was before last year’s unprecedented demands in peacetime on the brigade.

‘The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has dealt with an unprecedented series of major incidents over the last 12 months, with four terrorist attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire, causing the greatest loss of life by fire since the Second World War. The major challenges facing LFB over the next twelve months include challenges to London’s resilience.

‘It will take time to put in place all the Commissioner’s recommendations post Grenfell, including for example the new kit such as the extended duration BA sets and taller aerial appliances; and to recruit the fire safety inspection officers.

‘The Grenfell Tower investigation and inquiry are putting major demands on the LFB in terms of staff, both operational and FRS, and the LFB’s finances.