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“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter” – Martin Luther King

The East Anglia FBU (Region 9) represents uniformed members from the six FBU fire brigades in our region: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.
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Local Government Settlement 2012: War on the fire and rescue service

In recent months the Fire Brigades Union has been lobbying the government ahead of the latest round of spending plans. The Westminster government has now announced its central grants for metropolitan and combined Fire Authorities in England and for London. The figures confirm the union’s worst fears about the Westminster government’s plans. The cuts in “revenue spending power” (made up of central grant and council tax) are:

2013-14        4.4%

2014-15        3.1%

This compares to the 2.2% cut in 2011-12 and 0.5% in 2012-13. The figures show the Westminster government has backloaded cuts as it promised to, making the next two years even worse than the last two.

Figures for county Fire Authorities and for the devolved administrations are not published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG).

Members should also be aware that the Westminster government has appointed Sir Ken Knight to carry out an “efficiency review” in the first part of 2013. It is again promoting measures to cut the service:

  • Flexible staffing arrangements.
  • Improved sickness management.
  • Pay restraint and recruitment freezes.
  • Shared services/back office functions.
  • Improved procurement.
  • Sharing Chief Officers and other senior staff.
  • Voluntary amalgamations between Fire and Rescue Authorities.

Resisting the Cuts Agenda

In the preparation for our national lobby on 7 November, a number of Brigade Committees held open meetings for members to hear details of the challenges we face and to discuss how to build a response. It will be essential now for further discussion to take place in every Brigade.

It is important to note that cuts in our Service will not simply be defeated by industrial action, although industrial action now looks increasingly inevitable. The cuts agenda is a political agenda, which aims to fundamentally reduce the role of public services in our society and to increase the extent of privatisation. Turning the tide on this agenda requires a major political shift and this must be part of any campaign to defend the Fire Service and other public services.

The cuts we now face, present the most serious challenge to our union. To protect our Service and our profession as well as our jobs, we will need a campaign involving every single member of the FBU. We have no alternative but to organise and fight to defend ourselves.

Download pdf document: Don’t Squeeze Our Fire Service Dry




Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter – Martin Luther King




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