'Emergency plan' for fire service needed after £11m cuts, Labour says

The Fire Brigades Union has warned of a 'deep and long-lasting crisis' to the service if £11m of cuts are not reversed.

‘Emergency plan’ for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service needed after £11m cuts, Labour says STV News

The Scottish Government must come up with an emergency plan for the country’s fire service following a decade of cuts, the Labour Party has urged.

It comes after the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said it will be forced to make £11m worth of savings following a “decreasing real terms budget allocation”.

As part of the cuts, second or third appliances are being withdrawn from ten stations across Scotland from next month.

There are also plans to remove the 24-hour permanently crewed rescue boat on the River Clyde.

Scottish Labour is calling for the Scottish Government to reverse the latest cuts and invest in the service, with the party saying nearly 1,100 firefighter jobs have been lost over the last ten years.

The FBU has warned the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is facing a “deep and lost lasting crisis” if the cuts are not reversed.

A protest by the union will be held this Thursday to protest the cuts.

Scottish Labour said its own research found nearly half of all stations in the country are assessed as being in “bad” or “poor” condition.

Katy Clark, the party’s spokesperson for Community Safety, said: “A decade of cuts has hollowed out our fire service, with response times worsening, stations in disrepair and hundreds of jobs lost. 

“The combination of withdrawn appliances, understaffing and a dilapidated estate means firefighters, who put their lives on the line and are already exposed to dangerous fire contaminants in their job, are being put seriously at risk.

“Ultimately, that also puts our communities at risk, with response time per incident increasing by 14 per cent in the past ten years. 

“Scottish Labour’s message is that enough is enough.

“These latest cuts should be revoked and the Scottish Government must come forward with an emergency plan to save our fire service.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is a vital service which is why, despite difficult financial circumstances due to UK Government austerity, we are providing it with more than £368m this year, an increase of £14.4m on 2023/23.

“We are also maintaining front-line services, with a higher number of firefighters in Scotland than other parts of the UK and we are pleased firefighters have also recently accepted an improved pay offer.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code