A delegation of firefighters and residents from Torquay visited 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, September 11, in the latest effort to stop cuts to local fire and rescue services.
Four members of the Fire Brigades Union Torquay branch alongside fire authority members Vic Ellery, Stephen Brooksbanks and Kevin Foster Torbay prospective Tory MP and Susie Colley from the Torquay neighbourhood plan — visited the Prime Minister’s residence to deliver their objections to the loss of fire fighters and engines as a result of budget cuts.
Cuts passed by Devon and Somerset Fire Authority in early July included reducing fulltime fire cover at several fire stations by half and getting rid of over 149 frontline firefighters posts (almost 1 in 5 full time posts in the entire brigade).
Shortly after proposing the cuts, chief fire officer Lee Howell was appointed a fire and rescue advisor for the Welsh Government while continuing his position in Devon and Somerset part time.
The FBU collected over 27,000 local signatures opposing the cuts.
FBU brigade chair Bob Walker said: “Communities across the country are facing cuts to fire and rescue services as a result of short-sighted policies that will put lives in danger.
“But the affront to local democracy and the outright contempt to which local opinion — and safety — has been subjected in Devon and Somerset is truly exceptional. “We hope that by showing the Prime Minister the strength of local concern over these cuts, we can get national and local politicians to see common sense and put people’s lives ahead of their ideology.”
(from a press release)