General News

Nancy Platts says fire cuts a false economy!

Besi Besemar August 4, 2014

Labour parliamentary candidate says cutting the fire service is a false economy and claims funding is available.

Simon Herbert, Chair of East Sussex FBU and Nancy Platts, Labour candidate for Brighton Kemptown & Peacehaven
Simon Herbert, Chair of East Sussex FBU and Nancy Platts, Labour candidate for Brighton Kemptown & Peacehaven

Following the Governments annnouncement of £2 million pounds to restore Eastbourne Pier following being gutted by a fire last week, Nancy Platts, the labour candidate for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven claims this illustrates that funding was available to avoid the £750,000 of cuts to the fire service in Brighton and Hove.

The cuts were voted through by Conservative, Liberal Democrat and UKIP Councillors from outside the City of Brighton and Hove at the Fire Authority meeting on June 5 and will result in the loss of one of only five fire engines and 24 firefighters who provide fire and rescue services in the City of Brighton and Hove.

Nancy Platts, Labour parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven said: “The fire on Eastbourne pier must have been devastating for the local community and I am sure the pledge of Government funding of £2m to restore it will be very welcome; but the fact that £2m was available so quickly will surely leave the residents of Brighton and Hove feeling bemused after the decisions in June to cut our local fire service back to the bare bones.

“I trust that the Chief Fire Office and the Councillors on the Fire Authority will be writing to David Cameron asking him to find a further £750,000 which is all that is needed to avoid the loss of essential front line services in our City. ”

Simon Herbert, Chair of East Sussex FBU, added: “Firefighters worked extremely hard to bring the very serious Eastbourne pier fire under control so quickly and to save a large part of the pier is a testament to their hard work, especially in the initial stages of the incident.

“Cutting the Fire Service to save money is a false economy. The business and financial losses to the tourism industries far outweigh any of the savings that are being made through fire service cuts. Fire already costs local businesses over £6m a year. Tourism generates over £704m each year, any increase in the severity of fire will massively increase costs to local businesses and negatively impact tourism income.

“When a fire engine is removed from the City, there will be insufficient appliances available day or night to deal with even a small fire on the Pier. In order to tackle an incident on the pier, resources would need to be brought in from neighbouring areas. This would delay rescues and our ability to extinguish fire, leading to a more severe fire, with far more damage and a far greater cost to society and businesses. The knock on effect must not be underestimated.”

Simon Kirby MP
Simon Kirby MP

Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, commented: “I have consistently opposed reducing fire engine cover for our area and was very saddened when the UKIP councillor who chairs the Fire Authority voted for these reductions to front line services.

“I have always argued that the fire authority should look again at reducing back office costs, working with other authorities on shared services to lower costs and not assume reductions in services are automatically necessary, especially after a recent increase in Council Tax.

“I am also concerned that the way in which the Newhaven Fire Station will be operating could leave East Saltdean, Telscombe Cliffs and Peacehaven with cover that is unpredictable, potentially endangering residents. This is particularly concerning for the elderly and young families.”