Union chief: ‘Stop sense­less cuts to brigade’

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS -

A UNION chief has called on Andy Burn­ham to re­verse cuts to the Greater Manch­ester fire ser­vice after the Bolton stu­dent block blaze.

A package of sav­ings of­fi­cially came into force on Satur­day – just hours after 200 fire­fight­ers were de­ployed to tackle a fire which ripped through The Cube stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion.

It in­cluded re­duc­ing the num­ber of fire en­gines from 56 to 50. An­other three could be axed next year un­less money can be saved else­where.

The six re­moved are at Ec­cles, Moss Side, Old­ham, Hey­wood, Manch­ester Cen­tral, and Black­ley,

But a re­port re­veals en­gines at Bolton, Sal­ford, and Gor­ton, may also go, de­pen­dent on fu­ture fund­ing settlement­s with cen­tral gov­ern­ment.

Six sta­tions to close are Bolton Cen­tral and Bolton North; King Street and White­hill in Stock­port, White­hill; as well as Philips Park and Manch­ester Cen­tral in Manch­ester.

They will be re­placed with new sta­tions, cost­ing £3m to £4m each. Po­ten­tial sites have al­ready been iden­ti­fied.

Speak­ing after Fri­day’s fire, Les Skar­ratts, FBU North West ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil mem­ber, said: ”Fire­fight­ers on the ground have worked tire­lessly to con­tain the fire and res­cue res­i­dents.

“There will clearly be some hard lessons to learn as the cir­cum­stances be­come clearer in the com­ing days.

“Greater Manch­ester has lost more than 600 fire­fight­ers since 2010 alone and alarm­ingly Andy Burn­ham is try­ing to cut an­other nine fire en­gines po­ten­tially, in­clud­ing one at Bolton.

“We need to stop the sense­less cuts to our fire and res­cue ser­vice before we see an­other aw­ful in­ci­dent like this.”

Mr Burn­ham said: “There is only so much we can do - I call on gov­ern­ment to recog­nise that their fire cuts have gone too far and be­gin fairly fund­ing our Fire Ser­vice.”

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