Jennette Arnold
London assembly member for North East London — fighting your corner at City Hall

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London Mayor Boris Johnson has said he is “not minded to provide additional funding” to prevent his planned fire station closures and job cuts.

Last week members of London’s Fire Authority voted against plans to close 10 stations and cut 550 firefighters’ jobs, to save £28.8m over two years.

In a letter to Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson, Mr Johnson said he was “minded to direct” members over the cuts.

Members voted 9-8 against the plans but the mayor has the final say.

In the letter Mr Johnson said: “I am not minded to provide additional funding to the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) for 2014-15.

“I have set out my intentions as to the level of resources LFEPA should receive for 2014-15 not just on the basis of reductions in government grant but also on the basis of what level of frontline savings LFEPA can reasonably make without affecting public safety.

Fire stations proposed for closure

• Belsize in Camden

• Bow in Tower Hamlets

Clerkenwell in Islington

• Downham in Lewisham

Kingsland in Hackney

• Knightsbridge in Kensington and Chelsea

• Silvertown in Newham

• Southwark

• Westminster

• Woolwich in Greenwich

“Before deciding whether or not to direct, and what the terms of that direction might be if a direction were to be issued, I would welcome LFEPA Members’ views on my proposed course of action.”

The LFEPA met earlier on Wednesday to discuss its response to Mr Johnson’s letter.

I fully support the response from the Fiona Twycross AM Leader of Labour Group on LFEPA.

“Boris is cutting too far and all to fund his penny a day council tax cut. The mayor has asked if we want him to legally direct us to make these cuts, and our answer is a simple one – ‘No’.

“If he is serious about ensuring the safety of Londoners he needs to put his money where his mouth is and provide adequate funding.”

Members have asked the LFEPA to set up a working party to identify any further savings in order to protect the frontline, she added.

 

London Assembly members on the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) voted against Boris Johnson’s fire service cuts.   Despite the Fire Authority voting against the cuts, Boris Johnson issued a directive to overrule this.  In this round of cuts, he wants to get rid of 12 fire stations, 18 fire engines and 520 fire fighters across the capital.

The implications are serious – it will take longer for a fire engine to reach Londoners when they need one. London’s fire chief has said the cuts are driven by financial considerations but the comments and the hostility that I have witnessed at a recent consultation meeting within my constituency, in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, I know that Londoners think their safety and security should come first.

The Mayor also tried to stop the Fire Authority consulting the public through public meetings for each Borough, but LFEPA members are going ahead with meetings despite his wishes. These proposals were not in the Mayor’s manifesto so he must not be allowed to sneak these cuts through, that why I’m calling on you to have your say.

Information on the consultation, where the meetings will be held and an online consultation form is available via the following link: click here to have your say on the fire cuts   http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/lsp5.asp

If you would like a Labour member of the Assembly or the Fire Authority to come along to a meeting or a campaign event locally, please do get in touch on london@labour.org.uk so we can support your campaign.