Conservatives have insisted London will still be safe if planned fire service cuts go ahead. James Cleverly says London's budget remains the most generous settlement of any fire authority in the country:
Labour have insisted London's fire service cuts would have been pushed through regardless of today's result. Members of The London Fire Authority today gave their backing to the cuts, but Dr Fiona Twycross says now local authorities need to take up the fight on their communities' behalf:
The London Fire Authority needs to meet budget savings of £45 million over the next two years and the measures in the plan approved today sets out how the Brigade will work over the next three years, meeting £29 million of those savings. It will mean:
- The closure of 10 fire stations
- Reducing the number of fire engines by 14
- Reducing the number of fire rescue units from 16 to 14
- Reducing minimum crewing levels on fire rescue units from 5 firefighters to 4
- Reducing the number of firefighter posts
- To introduce alternate crewing arrangements at some stations
- To reduce the number of station and group managers to a total of 256, and then ultimately a further reduction to 200
An attempt to stop the Mayor's fire service cuts failed today, when the fire authority backed his plans to cut frontline services in the capital. Responding to the vote, Gordon Fielden from the Fire Brigade's Union said,
"The decision today is possibly a battle that's lost but the war continues. We've made it very clear that we don't accept that the Mayoral direction is a safe decision for Londoners.
"We will consider our position by way of looking at the legal aspects of what that decision was and we are considering a judicial review ourselves.
"We're not ruling anything in or out in terms of industrial action either."
Ensuring that London's Fire Service is financially stable and keeping Londoners safe are my top priorities.
I am perplexed why over the last ten months the Fire Authority has felt it necessary to drag the world's premier fire service into an increasingly precarious position by refusing to face up to their fiscal responsibilities and listen to the sound professional judgement of the Fire Commissioner.
– Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
I hope that London's Fire Safety Plan can be implemented as quickly as possible, so that we are able to continue to improve and develop the fire service, ensuring that it's fit for purpose for 21st century firefighting.
Boris Johnson's cuts to the London Fire Brigade have been approved, after his fire deputy used his casting vote to force them through. The plans to cut 10 fire stations and 14 fire engines have faced fierce opposition.
– Fiona Twycross AM, Labour London Assembly Fire spokesperson
We are all deeply disappointed that Boris' cuts have now been forced through, we wanted to continue the fight in court.
However, the legal advice we received was categorical and clearly stated we had no legal basis to challenge the Mayor in this way.
If we had gone down this route then we would have spent a large amount of taxpayers' money fighting a futile battle. Today we have offered the Mayor a way out and avoid cuts to the stations and engines.
Let's hope he finally listens to Londoners and drops his reckless plan.
A number of high profile celebrities have added their voices to a campaign against fire cuts in the capital. Actor and TV personality Ross Kemp is one who has spoken out against the plans, saying:
"The Mayor of London's plans to close 10 fire stations means fire engines won't be able to get to fires as quickly as they do now. He's cutting more than 580 frontline firefighters' jobs. That's more than one in 10 of all the firefighters who protect London now"
Campaigners are today launching their final offensive against the Mayor's planned cuts to the fire service. Boris Johnson's proposals include closing 10 fire stations, and cutting 14 engines and 550 jobs.
He insists safety in the capital won't be affected but the Fire Brigade's Union says emergency response times could almost double in some boroughs.