Now we know it- the Conservative administration are planning to cut £1.3m from the Fire Service budget of £21m!
This means they are proposing the severest cut ever seen to the Suffolk Fire Service, whose proud motto is Swift to Serve . With these proposed cuts, will they be able to live up to it , one wonders!
They are proposing to reduce the whole time establishment at Prnces Street Ipswich from 48 to 28, removing the On Call firefighters and two fire engines. At Ipswich East they are removing one fire engine and several On Call firefighters; the same is happening at Lowestoft South and Bury St Edmunds. At Wrentham they are closing the Fire Station altogether, whilst at Sudbury – the scene of a major fire recently -they are removing one fire engine and replacing it with a rapid response vehicle (whatever that might be). One Senior Officer post is also going as well as three civlian posts.
What does this mean to you the public of Suffolk?
Today, when the cuts were announced, there were at least 7 Fire Stations unable to provide cover: Framlingham, Aldeburgh, Wrentham, Eye, Needham Market, Nayland & Brandon with Princes Street “On Call Firefighters” unavailable at sometime during the day. Last Monday, 26th October, there were 20 Fire Stations out of a total of 35 unavailable for some part of the day! Where does the cover come from to fill in these holes in our Fire Cover? mainly from the wholetime firefighters based at Princes Street. However, with these proposed cuts this will no longer be able to happen.
With the population of Ipswich due to increase and several more high rise accomodation blocks planned the Fire Service will struggle to meet its agreed pre determined attendance to these properties, is it a risk you are prepared to take.
One simple solution: a rise of less than 1% in the council tax could prevent these cuts (its up to you) – or of course they could go back and look for cuts elsewhere.
Ahead of this action, Suffolk County Council will now undertake a 14 week consultation period to allow you, the public of Suffolk, to have your say. If you value your Emergancy Service I urge you to have your say and say No to these drastic cuts.
It is rumoured that the Cabinet Member for Public Protection is prepared to take what he calls” these acceptable risks”.
To you the people of Suffolk, I ask: “Are these RISKS ACCEPTABLE TO YOUR LIVES, YOUR PROPERTY & YOUR LIVELIHOODS?” I think not. We are already one of the lowest costing Fire Services in the country .
Enough is enough. Please have your say in this public consultation and help save our Fire Service.
Leader Lib Dem Group.