A little known fact related to the tragic and harrowing events at the Shoreham Air Show in August is that one of the first fire engines on the disaster scene at the airport is about to be cut, along with the jobs of 24 firefighters.
Losing the Hove-based engine and firefighter jobs is part of a plan being made by East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service to make £1m of cuts by 2018/19.
It’s part of a lamentable recent history of national cuts to fire & rescue: an emergency service where many UNISON back-office members are based, supporting front-line staff.
The Coalition Government cut around 30% central funding from fire & rescue services nationwide. This led to the loss of nearly 7,000 front-line firefighter jobs.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has pledged further 25% to 40% cuts in November’s spending review, which will further impact on fire & rescue as well as other local government services.
Like all emergency services, fire & rescue must remain publicly owned, publicly funded, publicly accountable and free at the point of use. Further cuts to it will put public safety and our communities at risk.
West Sussex County Council approved its own fire service cuts of £1.6million in September 2014, leading to serious community concern about the lasting damage that could be done. A campaigning blog was set up where you can read more.