A former Eccles-based firefighter has condemned threats to remove another fire engine from Salford in the latest round of spending cuts.
The loss of an engine from the Salford station, on top of an earlier decision to remove an engine from Eccles, is part of £12.8 million cuts planned over three years in response to reduced funding from central government.
Manchester’s Fire Brigades Union is petitioning against these cuts.
Chairman Ross Strother emphasised how ‘disgusting’ this attack is, especially under a Labour Greater Manchester Mayor.
Strother, a firefighter who has 25 years in the tactical response team, said: “The most alarming affect is the removal of fire engines.”
Nine fire engines are going to be permanently removed including ones in Salford and Eccles.
Fifteen per cent of the work force is due to be lost over three years.
“This will see a reduction in 194 firefighters posts,” he said.
Back in July, firefighters went to parliament to lobby MPs and Government against the cuts.
Strother, who used to work at the Eccles station, said: “There is a general ill feeling among staff.” He said they had not been listened to and there is a lack of respect.
He said the average response time for a house fire or incident used to be 4 minutes 45 seconds and there would be up to three engines with 15 crew members arriving.
However, with the cuts, the response time has increased to 7 minutes 30 seconds with only 12 crew members.
Six stations across Greater Manchester are due for closure, although three new ones will be built.
Mr Strother said: “Conditions [will be] worse for the public involved in these fires.”
These changes are ‘cutting to the bone’ of the crew and appliances, and could mean the difference between life or death, he said.
Mr Strother and the Fire Brigades Union encourage the community to contact their local MPs and councillors.
The public have sounded their opinions online. For example, Green Party Candidate for Salford and Eccles had this to say:
@AndyBurnhamGM what reassurances can you provide to the people of Salford that the GMCA is doing everything in its power to prevent another Grenfell happening within our city?
— Bryan Blears (@bryanblears) November 13, 2019
Speaking to the public, one person seemed shocked that it has the potential to put people’s lives in ‘jeopardy’, another said it’s a damaging issue: “We need to do something about that.”
There is a petition to stop the cuts which you can access via the Fire Brigades Union web page.
Written by Natalie Snape and Olivia Macphail.