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Boris urged to compromise and scale back fire engine cuts

Labour’s Leader on the London Fire Authority, Fiona Twycross AM, has called for the Mayor to scale back his plans to axe 13 London fire engines after new funding was identified which could see at least some of the 13 fire engines retained.

The move comes after the Mayor overruled the Fire Authority’s and ordered them to axe 13 fire engines in order to make £9m savings from their 2016/17 Budget.

Whilst the Fire Authority has little choice but to comply with Boris Johnson’s Mayoral Direction ordering them to scrap the 13 fire engines, Dr Twycross today wrote to the Mayor to propose a “last ditch compromise” calling on him to meet with her to discuss using £9m in unexpected underspends from last year’s budget to retain a number of the 13 fire engines currently scheduled to be axed.

If the Mayor agrees to compromise it would allow the Fire Bridge to retain a number of fire engines at the stations they deemed would make the most positive impact.

Last week the Mayor ordered the 13 fire engines to be axed despite a public consultation finding 82% of respondents were against the plans to reduce the number of fire engines in the capital.

Labour’s Leader on the London Fire Authority, Dr Fiona Twycross AM, said:

“We have opposed these unnecessary cuts from moment they were proposed. The Mayor overruling the Fire Authority and forcing through the cuts is profoundly undemocratic, particularly given the strength of public opinion against the cuts.

“With unexpected money available due to underspends last year the Mayor has the chance to make the savings he wants whilst still saving some of the 13 fire engines. Ploughing ahead with the cuts when funding is available would be little more than vandalism.

“Over the next year there will be a root and branch review of the fire brigade. It makes sense that we leave our options open and retain as many of these fire engines so there can be a calm and considered analysis of what is best for the Fire Bridge. Axing them now limits the Fire Brigade’s options and would seem little more than a ideologically motivated drive to make cuts.”

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