The Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner has this week released his plan for taking over the Fire Service, justifying the idea with massive ‘efficiency savings’ including ‘one-off capital receipts’ of up to £15m.
Paul Zukowskyj, lead Lib Dem member on the Community Safety panel at County Hall condemned the move saying, “David Lloyd has virtually completed his asset-stripping of the police, including overseeing the loss of more than three hundred police posts across the county since 2012 and closing numerous police station front desks, now he wants to do the same asset stripping to our fire service.
“We need the services, as we’ve seen recently with the terror attacks and now the fire in Grenfell Tower. Asset stripping them will mean they might not be there when we need them the most. This hostile take-over has to be stopped and the Lib Dems at County Hall will resist it every step of the way.”
Paul continued: “Will closure of Fire Stations follow the closure of our Police Stations? The Yearly revenue savings of up to £4m, which are most likely to comprise staff losses, are likely to mean less fire fighters at a time when the need for both services has never been clearer. The one-off capital receipts are likely sales to developers of fire or police stations, which the PCC says are no longer required. (more…)
Liberal Democrats have questioned fire service officials about the levels of sickness in the fire service.
Chris White, who leads for the fire service, said: ‘It is remarkable that there has been a surge in the days lost through sickness in the fire and rescue service. Some of this can be explained by one or two instances of long term sickness but much of the rest is a mystery.
‘The problem is particularly acute amongst non-uniformed staff: in 2008-2009 there were 847 days lost through sickness absence, a 34% increase over the previous year. This is about 8 days per staff member per year.
‘Nearly all measures – uniformed and non-uniformed – see a rise: one shows an increase of 148%.’