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Fewer than one in five of the public support plans to cut 13 London fire engines according to the results of an official London Fire Brigade public consultation. Despite the lack of public support for the plans, the London Fire Brigade, is pushing ahead with plans to axe the 13 fire engines after Mayor Boris Johnson ordered them to make £11.5m in cuts in 2016/17. The consultation results come only two weeks after the Mayor was criticised for describing the lifesaving fire engines as “pointless vehicles.”

The consultation results published today showed that 70% of the 1,478 respondents supported fully funded alternative proposals (Option A) put forward by Andrew Dismore AM, which would retain the 13 fire engines and make the required savings by changing the way some engines are crewed, allowing one crew to run different types of fire appliance to ensure all of the Fire Brigade’s current engines are able to stay in service. Only 18% of respondents supported Option B which would see the 13 fire engines scrapped.

The results of the consultation will be considered at next Wednesday’s meeting (17th Feb) of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA), although it is feared that irrespective of the outcome, the Mayor of London could issue a legally binding Mayoral Direction to LFEPA members ordering them to axe the fire engines.

In January 2012 the Mayor’s last round of cuts to the Fire Brigade saw him order the closure of 10 fire stations with the loss of 14 fire engines. Following the closures London saw a significant increase in response times with rises in 401 of London’s 654 wards when compared with the previous year.

Labour’s London Assembly Fire Spokesperson, Dr Fiona Twycross AM said:

“It’s no surprise that Londoners don’t want to see more fire engines axed given that the last time Boris Johnson cut the fire service, closing ten fire stations and scrapping 14 fire engines, the result was a significant increase in the time it takes engines to reach fires.

“With 70% of Londoners against these plans, and with strong and fully costed alternatives on the table, it is time the Mayor listened to what Londoners are telling him and backed down from this plan to axe yet more fire engines.

“Far from being the ‘pointless vehicles’ the Mayor describes, these fire engines and their crews save lives. Scrapping them would unnecessarily increase the risk to Londoners.”

ENDS

Notes

-          The results of the LFB consultation into the proposed cuts to the Fire Brigade area available here. (begins page 11 halfway down) and reads:

Preferred options

69. The consultation questionnaire asked respondents which option they preferred (‘Option A’ or ‘Option B’) and the reasons for their preference. In addition, respondents also had the opportunity to select a ‘Neither’ option.

70. A sizable majority of respondents chose Option A as their preferred option (70 per cent). Option B was chosen by 18 per cent of respondents, and ‘Neither’ was selected by 11 per cent. One per cent of respondents offered no selection.

71. This response was broadly reflected across respondent types. The only exception to this was from those respondents who identified themselves as ‘Elected Members’. In this case, Option B was the preferred option (54 per cent). The numbers of ‘Elected Members’ responding however was much smaller (34) compared to 328 staff, and 1,078 responses from the public.

-          The results of the LFB consultation will be debated by LFEPA members on Wednesday 17th at 10am at City Hall.

-          Speaking at a London Assembly meeting on the 20th January the Mayor Boris Johnson responded to a question from Andrew Dismore AM on whether he would protect the 13 fire engines currently at risk of being scrapped saying; “it’s certainly Labour’s policy to have pointless vehicles of all kinds and I understand why you bow to that but I’m content to wait and see the outcome of the consultation.” A copy of the meeting transcript is available here (p.45).

Public back plans to save 13 London fire engines from Boris Johnson’s cuts

Fewer than one in five of the public support plans to cut 13 London fire engines according to the results of an official London Fire Brigade public consultation. Despite the...

Londoners should to be given early access to tickets for London’s iconic London New Year’s Eve fireworks , Labour London Assembly Member Fiona Twycross has proposed. Dr Twycross reissued her call for a portion of tickets for to be reserved for those who live in the capital after the Mayor of London admitted that just over a quarter of tickets for the 2015 fireworks went to Londoners despite London taxpayers funding of the event.

The Mayor of London confirmed only 28% of the 106,428 tickets sold for the 2015 fireworks went to residents living in the capital. Ticketing for the event was introduced in 2014 in an attempt to better control crowds.

The £10 tickets are priced to cover only the cost of the ticketing infrastructure, leaving London taxpayers to foot the bill for hosting the event despite it being seen as a national celebration. The Mayor confirmed that the total cost for the 2015 fireworks was £3.1m. With only £758,831 raised by ticket sales, the additional £2.3m was met by London taxpayers and event sponsorship. Whilst City Hall said income from ticket revenue and commercial revenue including catering concessions, filming fees and partnership contributions went towards the fireworks, the Mayor admitted this only covered ‘part’ of the costs.

Dr Twycross welcomed that tickets prices only reflect necessary administration costs but said that Londoners should be given priority access to tickets, with a portion reserved for London residents to buy until a month or two before the event. Without such protections Dr Twycross warned that Londoners, who contribute significantly to the event through their taxes, could end up missing out.

Labour’s London Assembly Economic Spokesperson, Dr Fiona Twycross AM said:

“London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks are an iconic event and something the capital should be incredibly proud of. Given it is London taxpayers who stump up the cash to fund the fireworks, we really should give them a fair chance at getting tickets. It’s ridiculous that less than a third of tickets for last year’s sell-out event went to people who live in the capital despite massive demand.

“Of course it benefits the capital to encourage tourism but it wouldn’t hurt the next Mayor to consider reserving a portion, say half, of the tickets for Londoners until a month or so before or at least for residents in the capital to get early access to tickets so they don’t miss out.”

Give Londoners priority access to New Year’s Eve fireworks tickets says Fiona Twycross AM

Londoners should to be given early access to tickets for London’s iconic London New Year’s Eve fireworks , Labour London Assembly Member Fiona Twycross has proposed. Dr Twycross reissued her...

 

Commenting on the admission that the proposed helter-skelter slide for the Orbit Tower at the Olympic Park will cost £3.5m to install, on top of the £10.4 million we already owe and   £10,000 a week loss the Orbit is currently incurring, Labour London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore AM said:

“With the Orbit already losing £10,000 a week, splashing out another £3.5m to put up a novelty slide will only send the tower’s costs further into orbit.

“The £3.5m price-tag means that if the LLDC go ahead with the £5 ticket price that they’re suggesting, we’d still need 700,000 visitors just to break even. That’s far more visitors than the sculpture is currently getting ,three times their optimistic estimates, and comes on top of the Orbit’s current £12 admission charge making the whole £17 package beyond the reach of many London families.  

“There’s a lot of competition but the Orbit is quickly taking on the mantle of one of Boris’ greatest follies. We were promised a great value Olympic Legacy, not a metallic red  phallic symbol of Boris Johnson’s ego. Think what a difference £3.5m could make to the dwindling sporting legacy from the Games, which would be  a far better use of money than putting up a slide.”

£3.5m cost for Olympic Orbit slide will send "tower’s costs further into orbit"

  Commenting on the admission that the proposed helter-skelter slide for the Orbit Tower at the Olympic Park will cost £3.5m to install, on top of the £10.4 million we...

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