The chief fire and rescue adviser for the Government has dismissed claims that cuts in funding have hampered the efforts of those dealing with the flooding crisis.
Peter Holland said the claims are "completely unfounded" and added:
Over 1,000 fully equipped firefighters from right across the country are doing an incredible job working in shifts to reduce water levels and help communities deal with the flooding giving support wherever and whenever it is needed.
The crews who have been drafted in from around the country are specially trained professionals who have the very best equipment for dealing with the floods including high volume pumps, rescue boats, 4x4 fire vehicles and dry suits.
While fire and rescue services are busy dealing with the floods, there still are plenty of fire engines in local areas to respond to non-flood emergencies."
– Government's chief fire and rescue adviser, Peter Holland
Unprecedented cuts in funding are "severely jeopardising" the fire service's ability to cope with the floods effectively, the Fire Brigade Union has suggested.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said while firefighters were doing a fantastic job dealing with the crisis, a "very troubling picture" was emerging of "understaffed operations, badly equipped firefighters and inadequate training".
“Although there has been improvement in equipment after firefighters raised concerns during the 2007 floods, it seems our calls for better preparation and support have not yet been adequately addressed, with unprecedented cuts severely jeopardising our ability to cope with the floods effectively."
Mr Wrack said firefighters had a right to "expect the best levels of training, equipment and resources".
The fire service's biggest mobilisation since the Second World War is being hampered by shortages of staff, equipment and training, firefighters have claimed.
The Fire Brigade Union said it was becoming clear that "serious budget restrictions" caused by cuts were creating problems such as understaffed operations, a lack of equipment and inadequate training, which were creating greater risk for firefighters and the public during the flood crisis.
The union said the it was a collating reports of problems from members involved in the huge number of rescues and evacuations since the severe weather hit.