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FBU vote of no confidence for Surrey cuts

30 June 2017

THE FIRE Brigades Union (FBU) has passed a vote of no confidence against Surrey County Council over plans to significantly cut funding to Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).

The council has approved plans to cut £10m from the SFRS budget, which the FBU claims will see the number of firefighters reduced from 252 to 117. The union says the cut in wholetime firefighter posts, reduced by 126 since 2010, has already resulted in a 66% fall in the number of Fire Protection Audits carried out. 

Elsewhere, the number of firefighters in a crew has also been reduced from five to four. This means that if firefighters have to perform rescues from a burning building, they would need to wait for a backup crew as a minimum of five firefighters is needed. The FBU claims this would inevitably lengthen the amount of time it takes for firefighters to rescue people.

The FBU’s warning comes after firefighters passed a motion of no confidence in Surrey County Council’s fire authority saying that the cuts would put the public at risk.

FBU secretary for the south east Richard Jones said: “These budget cuts are completely unacceptable and show, once again, how little regard the fire authority has for the safety of the public.

“If these cuts go ahead, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service will no longer be able to perform its duty effectively. It will take firefighters longer to arrive at emergencies and they will have to wait for backup crews if they need to enter a burning building. This will lead to avoidable deaths.

“These cuts will leave the public with nothing more than a false sense of security.”