Posted September 25, 2013
Lib Dems Condemn Labour Retreat on Fire Services – Councillor Mahmood Hussain
The Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats have a long standing campaign against the Mayor’s fire cuts and have been working with colleagues across London to try and stop the plans to axe our fire engines.
Last week the Labour council in Waltham Forest withdrew from the judicial review aimed at making the Mayor rethink his plans. Local Liberal Democrats believe that by backing down Labour have dealt a huge blow to the campaign to save our fire services.
Councillor Mahmood Hussain said:
“Labour clearly went ahead without thinking and then got cold feet.”
“Withdrawing now makes it seem as if we’re not confident the case can be won. We should be backing our fire fighters and standing with other Borough’s against the Mayor’s cuts.”
“It’s becoming clearer that when it comes to cuts to local services, Labour’s commitment to fairness is only words and not action. They are giving the tory Mayor a free pass to do what he wants with our fire services.”
LOCAL COUNCILLORS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN AGAINST CUTS TO FIRE SERVICES
Lib Dem launch Save Our Fire Services campaign
Local Lib Dem councillors are backing their Lib Dem colleagues Terry Stacy and Stephen Knight on the North London fire authority and are launching a campaign against cuts to local fire services. Waltham Forest could lose 2 fire engines under Mayor Boris Johnson’s plans and services across London will be cut back.
Local residents are also worried about the closure and demolition of Leytonstone Fire Station amidst this on-going uncertainty. Residents are worried that because the proposals for cuts are yet to be finalised the new station could be axed following the consultation.
Residents now want assurances that the station will reopen as planned. Local Lib Dems are asking residents to sign a petition against the cuts and for assurances about the future of Leytonstone Fire Station.
Lib Dem Councillor Mahmood Hussain said:
“These fire engines are a vital part of our local fire services. Fewer engines will mean there are fewer and less mobile fire fighters protecting or Borough.“These cuts are short-sighted. The number of fire engine mobilisations in the Borough increased from 5,449 in 2005/06 to 5,607 between 2011 and 2012. The population of the Borough is still growing, which means more people and more houses to protect.”“I hope that local Labour and Conservative councillors will join us in opposing these cuts.”
Leytonstone resident Mahmood Faiz said:
“Of course we’re worried. There are big changes going on in the fire service and local people want assurances that the new fire station will go ahead. This consultation is already causing worries for local people and it shouldn’t be used as a way of sneaking in even more of Boris’ cuts to our fire services.”
Following local campaigns and a Lib Dem motion to Council urging the return of our fire engines, we have heard that London Fire Brigade has finally decided to return the two fire engines that were taken from Leyton and Chingford.
They were taken away last year, along with another 25 fire engines across London to cover for the possibility of industrial action by the Fire Unions.
Last Friday the Unions came to an agreement with the Fire Brigade so the engines should be returned.
This is good news for local residents whose safety could have been put at risk.
Local Liberal Democrat councillors have called for Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson and Conservative councillors on the London Fire Emergency and Planning authority (LFEPA) to reverse a proposal to permanently remove a fire engine from Leyton Fire Station.
The cuts threat was made by LFEPA’s Conservative chairman earlier this week when he called for the Fire Brigade to look at saving money by making permanent the temporary reductions in fire cover during the recent strikes. It could see 27 of London’s 169 fire engines scrapped and around 500 fire fighter jobs lost. The proposal was backed by Conservative members of the authority.
Leyton Lib Dem councillor Winnie Smith said:
It is shocking that the Conservatives are now looking at permanent cuts to the number of fire engines protecting Leyton resident. This inevitably raises questions about the time it takes for engines can get to fires and accidents and about cover if the remaining engine is unavailable. Like all public services London Fire Brigade needs to save money. But Mayor Boris Johnson has promised that there will be no cuts in frontline fire services and he must honour that promise.
Waltham Forest Lib Dems have also expressed concern about the removal of a fire engine from Chingford Fire Station.
At the 8th November finance committee of LFEPA Conservative Chairman Brian Coleman proposed an amendment to ask officers to report on whether there was a supposed oversupply of fire engines, which could be cut back. The amendment was passed with the support of all Conservative members voting for the amendment. Cllr Terry Stacy, the Liberal Democrat member on the committee, voted against the amendment.