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Bexley fire service cuts 'will affect the front line'
BEXLEY firefighters have warned front line services will be harmed if cuts hit the borough.
Firefighter morale is also “very low” in Bexley as the borough faces possible station closures and redundancies.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has told London’s fire service it needs to cut £64.8m from its two year budget.
The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA), which runs London’s stations, has said up to 30 stations across the capital might have to close.
Bexley Borough secretary for the Fire Brigade Union, Stephen Rawlinson, told News Shopper: “The morale is very low in Bexley because we are all expecting these cuts.
“These cuts will affect the front line. But the real worry is if they take away appliances (fire engines), that’s what we are concerned about.”
It was revealed last week all London firefighters were offered voluntary redundancies.
News Shopper has learned firefighters have been offered £7,500 severance pay and civilian staff £10,000.
Bexley MP Teresa Pearce has spoken out against the cuts and redundancy offers.
She told News Shopper: "I can’t believe it. What does that say to the emergency services?
"It’s been attack after attack on a highly professional service.
"You don’t want people who feel undervalued and demoralised doing that job."
Firefighters across London are waiting for papers to be released by the LFEPA on November 15 which will indicate where the cuts can be made.
Bexley has three fire stations and its average response time is already two minutes behind the capital’s target.
James Cleverly, chairman of the LFEPA , said last week: “Nowhere in London will be more than six minutes away on average from a fire station.
“We will be keeping the target time of six minutes.”
“Even in the worst case scenario it’s not going to be as serious as the reports going around are saying.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson told News Shopper: “What I can say is that fire cover in London will remain as good as we can possible make it.
“We will ensure that we continue to make London as ever safer and ever less vulnerable to fire.
“The figures at the moment have been very good, I congratulate London on what they have been doing and safety has got to be out priority.”
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