MP launches campaign against proposed fire service cuts (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Leyton MP John Cryer launches campaign against proposed fire service cuts
An MP has launched a petition against proposed cuts to the number of fire engines in Waltham Forest.
Leyton and Wanstead Labour member John Cryer described the plans to axe engines in his constituency as "reckless in the extreme".
Chingford, Leyton and Leytonstone fire stations currently all have two engines, but they would lose one each under the proposals.
The brigade says it must make £28.8million worth of savings in two years and insist that the average response time of the first two engines dispatched to a fire will not be affected by a reduction in numbers.
But Mr Cryer said: “In my own constituency 50 per cent of the fire cover will be lost. We’re talking about an area which includes a lot of high-density housing and a very large number of businesses.
“This is reckless in the extreme and it’s down to one thing – government cuts by ministers who do not give a damn about public safety.”
The Conservative and Liberal Democrat government says cuts are essential to reduce the nation's deficit, which it blames on irresponsible spending by the previous Labour administration.
Mr Cryer is urging people to email him on firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved in his campaign and will also be distributing leaflets in his constituency.
Ron Dobson, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said in a statement: "Additional savings cannot be found without making significant changes to how we keep London safe...
"I have every intention of maintaining our current response time targets for first and second fire engines.
"With all the work we do to prevent fires happening, and response times that are still amongst the best in the country, I am confident these savings can be made while keeping London safe.”
The plans include the closure of 12 fire stations elsewhere in London. The closest branch to Waltham Forest which could shut is in Bow.
The FBU’s regional secretary for London, Paul Embery, said: “These proposed cuts are dangerous and wrong.
"If they are implemented, they will undoubtedly jeopardise the safety of Londoners and firefighters alike."
Members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority will discuss the plans on Monday.
A final decision is expected to be made aby the organisation in June following a public consultation. Visit http://www.london.gov.uk/LFEPA/mgAi.aspx?ID=1016#mgDocuments for more information.
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