Union chief: ‘Stop senseless cuts to brigade’
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.”