Suffolk Fire Brigades Union begins petition to Suffolk County Council over proposed fire service cuts
An online petition has been launched by the Suffolk Fire Brigades Union in a bid for the matter of proposed cuts to fire services to be put before Suffolk County Council’s full council.
The consultation period for the matter is due to end in February, before the nine councillors in the cabinet vote on the cuts.
But union officials believe the importance of the issue warrants it being decided by the full council.
The petition, which began on website change.org five days ago has already attracted more than 500 signatures.
Members of the union have said that cuts have been put forward without a thorough consideration of implications, and includes plans to halve the services at Princes Street in Ipswich, despite it being the busiest station in the county.
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Roy Humphreys, Suffolk FBU secretary said: “We believe the best chance of fighting some of these cuts is politically. We are not of the opionion that taking industrial action is the right way forward.”
The FBU has also labelled the proposed cuts, which could see up to 80 posts axed, as potentially dangerous.
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“Without a shadow of a doubt, removing firefighters and fire engines could be a danger,” Mr Humphreys confirmed.
“Between 70 and 80 posts could be lost – that’s approximately a sixth of the staff.”
The proposed cuts also look to axe Wrentham Fire Station, and remove fire engines from Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds.
A spokesman from Suffolk County Council said: “The council welcomes the views of residents and the community. Any petition received will be considered as part of the overall decision making process.
“The county council operates the leader and cabinet model, as defined within the Local Government Act 2000. Executive decisions of this nature are taken by cabinet, not full council, this delegated authority is set out within the council’s constitution. Cabinet meetings are open to all councillors, press and public, and there is a full opportunity for all interested parties to make cabinet aware of their views before any decision is taken.”
The FBU will be in the streets in Sudbury on Saturday talking to residents and shoppers, before visiting Ipswich on December 16.
To view or sign the petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/suffolk-county-council-cabinet-colin-noble-the-full-suffolk-county-council-should-vote-on-fire-cuts-not-just-the-9-cabinet-members#petition-letter.