Concern over fire and rescue funding cuts

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Monday, February 24th, 2020 8:30pm

By Carmelo Garcia - Local Democracy Reporter

Fire and rescue service union leaders have blasted Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s response to recent flooding as a ‘shambles’,

Fire Brigades Union representatives say Mr Johnson should be ‘ashamed’ of the government’s failure to plan for floods in the long-term.

Fire and rescue services funding in England has been cut by £141.5m in the last four-year local government finance settlement, including an £8.7m cut to the services covering areas with severe ‘risk to life’ flood warnings.

Hereford and Worcester have had funding cut by £1.9m, as they faced severe flooding across the two counties from the River Wye in places such as Hereford, Ross and Hampton Bishop.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “This Prime Minister has shown absolutely zero leadership as flooding devastates our communities.

Firefighters are on the ground fighting to keep people, homes, and businesses safe, while Boris Johnson cowers in Westminster.

“Flooding is nothing new, and will only get worse with climate change, but our ability to tackle its consequences has been utterly undermined by a lack of long-term planning from this shambles of a government.

“The Tories have slashed fire and rescue funding, bungled flood defences, and refused to recognise in law the role of firefighters and control staff in responding to these emergencies. Boris Johnson should be ashamed.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “The Government has acted swiftly to support local areas affected by the recent storms and Environment Agency teams remain on the ground operating flood defences and supporting communities that have been affected by the severe weather.

“Fire and rescue services have the resources they need to do their important work and overall will receive around £2.3billion in 2019/20.”

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