Harrogate Socialists joined the Fire Brigades Union in Easingwold today to lobby the North Yorkshire Fire Authority against proposed cuts to the fire service across the region.
Public concerns ignored
However, in spite of the demonstration, the Fire Authority voted by 10 to 6 to implement the cuts. One fire engine at each station in Harrogate, Ripon, Malton, Northallerton and Tadcaster is being axed. These fire engines will be replaced with smaller Tactical Response Vehicles carrying less fire-fighters and equipment.
The Fire Authority has ignored the huge opposition to the cuts from the public, local councils, local businesses and the Chamber of Commerce. There were 1,125 responses to the Fire Authority internet consultation survey, with between 77 per cent and 85 per cent against or strongly against the plans.
A defining decision
Steve Howley, North Yorkshire FBU brigade secretary, said the decision to cut the fire engines and replace them with Tactical Response Vehicles was “the most defining in the services’ history.” Steve said: “It does not matter what size the appliance is, if it is crewed with only two fire-fighters it is almost useless as an effective rescue capability. It is clear to members these proposals place an even larger burden on a service already at breaking point, with no evidence of how recruitment and retention will be achieved. The risk is still there and this is a step too far, a view shared by the public and business of North Yorkshire.”
The cuts will have a major detrimental impact on both fire-fighter and public safety. North Yorkshire is already a difficult area to cover for our fire service with a population of 1.2 million and a large network of country roads. Road traffic collisions and property fires have not reduced and there has been an increase in fire deaths this year.
For further details of the cuts and today’s demonstration, see the following articles:
Capitalism versus the Climate film showing
The film THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING: CAPITALISM VERSUS THE CLIMATE will be shown in Harrogate on Friday 11th December, starting 7.00pm.
The venue is: Brostoff Hall, St. Peter’s Church, Cambridge Street. There is a contribution of £5.00 for attendance. All welcome!