Buck stops with Boris 

Local Labour Assembly Member Joanne McCartney yesterday welcomed colleagues voting against proposals to close 12 fire station(s) outlined in the Mayor’s draft London Fire Brigade budget.

The London Fire Brigade’s budget has been cut by the Mayor and government by £45 million for the next two years. Last week it was announced that Boris Johnson wants to close 12 fire stations across London. Even after the 12 stations, 18 fire appliances and 520 firefighters have been cut the Mayor and LFEPA will still have to find over £5 million of cuts. On average it costs £1.4 million to run a one fire engine station.

The fire stations listed for closure are: Belsize in Camden; Bow in Tower Hamlets; Clapham in Lambeth; Clerkenwell in Islington; Downham in Lewisham; Kingsland in Hackney; Knightsbridge in Kensington & Chelsea; New Cross in Lewisham; Silvertown in Newham; Southwark; Westminster; and Woolwich in Greenwich.

In addition the following stations will lose one of their two fire engines: Chelsea, Chingford, Hayes, Leyton, Leytonstone, Peckham and Whitechapel.

Local Labour London Assembly Member Joanne McCartney said:

“Today I welcome the defeat of the Mayor’s draft fire budget by my colleagues on the Fire Authority. We believe it will jeopardise the safety and security of Londoners. We will fight these closures tooth and nail, we are here to represent Londoners and we will take this fight to Boris. He cannot try and wash his hands of these cuts. He is the Mayor of London and the buck stops with him.

“Boris has said he will now issue a directive ordering the London Fire Authority to make these cuts. He is ignoring the Fire Authority and is forcing through these cuts against the wishes of Londoners. The Mayor needs to think again and look at reallocating resources from the wider Greater London Authority budget. This will keep our fire stations open and protect the safety and security of Londoners. The final Fire Budget will not be voted on until March so Boris still has time to think again and listen to genuine concerns.

“Labour Members also voted for a wide ranging consultation. We expect Boris Johnson to listen to Londoners.

“We understand that savings have to be made, but the level of cuts forced on the London Fire Brigade by the Mayor and government are truly reckless. They are cutting too far and too fast, hitting the frontline and fundamentally undermining the ability of the fire brigade to do their job. This is why we supported our colleagues voting against the Mayor’s plans.”

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