East London hit hard in fire brigade cuts

By Rob Virtue on January 11, 2013 2:57 PM |

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Plans have been announced by London Fire Brigade to close 12 stations in the capital, including those at Silvertown, Bow and Woolwich.

The emergency service revealed the proposed measures on Thursday afternoon as it looks to cut costs in the face of a £45 million budget reduction over the next two years

It is also proposed that 520 front line staff go, making up 10 per cent of the overall workforce.

LFB Commissioner Ron Dobson played down the extent of the measures, which are likely to go to public consultation later this month.

He said he hoped there would be no compulsory redundancies and added: "We're not cut right to the bone.

"It's a proper contribution of the savings we need to make."

LFB staff were made aware of the planned cuts at around 2.30pm on Thursday.

Commissioner Dobson added: "I'm bracing myself for tough discussions but I'd like to think like all other public services we need to make savings.

"I hope firefighters will see that these proposals are sensible."

As well as losing stations, east London will also be hit by loses of fire vehicles, with Leyton, Leytonstone and Whitechapel all going from two fire engines to one.

Neighbouring areas such as Downham, Kingsland and New Cross are also due to close under the plans.

Following the announcement, London Assembly Member for City and East, John Biggs, said the LFB was "facing a crisis" and added "safety and security of Londoners" would be put at risk by the cuts.

"The government are cutting too far and too fast, hitting the frontline and fundamentally undermining the ability of the fire brigade to do their job," he said.

"It's time that the Mayor stood up for Londoners and got a better deal from central government.

"We understand that savings have to be made, but the level of cuts forced on the London Fire Brigade by the Mayor and government are truly reckless. Boris's cuts are hitting front-line services and putting public safety at risk."