Senior figures on the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) have slammed chairman Brian Coleman for his proposal to explore ways to permanently remove one in six of the capital’s entire fleet of fire appliances, in direct contradiction to his previous assurances that he had no plans to reduce frontline fire cover.
There has yet been no response from the commissioner, who seems to have taken a vow of silence, but Coleman’s authority colleagues have been quick to condemn the proposal.
Leader of the Labour group on LFEPA, Navin Shah, said:
“The cat is out of the bag. The Tories want big cuts to our fire service. Councillor Coleman gave a public assurance last week that he would not be cutting fire engines, firefighters or fire stations. So much for that promise. Clearly his word cannot be trusted. At this sensitive time when we are trying to settle the dispute, Coleman can’t even wait until the ink is dry before he’s talking about more cuts.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, Mike Tuffrey, commented:
“In the very same week that the fire union and management are finally sitting down and talking it is truly extraordinary that Brian Coleman should produce this rabbit-out-of-the-hat proposal. His badly-timed proposal will only fuel the worst fears of the workforce. The mayor must overrule Brian Coleman and make it crystal clear to Londoners that next year’s budget will not see any ill thought-out cuts to frontline fire services.”
Green party representative Darren Johnson said:
“It is a highly provocative and badly timed comment, which raises the prospect of unacceptable cuts to the fire service in London. Most Londoners breathed a sigh of relief when the Fire Brigades Union responded to legitimate concerns over safety and called off their strike on bonfire night. The chair of the authority should be helping to sort out the trade union’s grievances, not stirring things up in this way. The London mayor needs to step in and remove Brian Coleman from his role as chair, as he has become a barrier to the dispute being resolved.”