The Mayor of London has been warned against the ‘potentially disastrous consequences’ of another round of fire service cuts after he ordered plans to be drawn up to axe another 13 fire engines. The warning came from Labour’s London Assembly Fire Spokesperson Fiona Twycross AM after Boris Johnson wrote to the Fire Authority stating that “the question has arisen as to whether the 13 appliances are in fact required by the London Fire Brigade” and ordering the Commissioner to draw up plans to scrap the appliances.
The 13 fire engines in question were previously removed from active service after the Mayor ordered they be reserved for potential strike cover. The move to axe the fire engines completely comes despite the fact the Fire Brigade and Fire Brigades Union (FBU) are close to agreement on a plan that would see the engines returned to use.
At a meeting of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) this afternoon Ms Twycross criticised the Mayor’s plan and called on him to put the 13 engines back into service as soon as possible.
In January 2014 Boris Johnson forced through the closure of 10 London fire stations and axing 14 fire engines and over 500 firefighters; a move which pushed up response times across the capital. The Mayor pledged no more front line cuts to the fire service, a promise he looks set to break.
Labour’s London Assembly Fire Spokesperson Fiona Twycross AM said:
“Not content with forcing the closure of ten London fire stations, making it longer for fire engines to reach incidents, now we learn Boris Johnson is planning another round of cuts.
“Up until now we have been very lucky that the Mayor’s cuts have not led to any serious incidents. Axing yet more fire engines could have potentially disastrous consequences and will further undermine the fire brigade’s ability to protect Londoners. Preventing these engines returning to service now won’t save a penny, but it could cost lives.”