Our firefighters, whole time and retained, work hard to prevent fires, engage with communities and respond to emergencies. As a member of the Avon Fire Authority, I've seen directly the impact of the cuts, as tough decisions have had to be made to save almost £5 million, which is a 21% cut, from the Fire Authority budget, yet keep the risk low. Fundamentally though, these cuts to a valuable service compromises the ability of local firefighters to provide a lifesaving emergency response, here and through-out the rest of the country.
The Tories are also looking at bringing the fire service under the Police and Crime Commissioner, designing another layer of bureaucracy, yet continue to squeeze budgets. I condemn this approach, and welcome Labour's pledge to respond and represent firefighters, respect the hard work they do and give the firefighters the resources they need to keep us safe.
Check out Labour's policy for safer communities here.