Over the autumn Labour and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have been trying to get some traction out of firestation closures in London. Locally Labour figures have been scaremongering about the possible closure of Acton fire station. Today it has been confirmed that this will not happen. The fire brigade gives some interesting background that was reflected in the BBC story but not in the Evening Standard piece by Ross Lydall. London Fire Brigade say:
The savings come against a backdrop of the Brigade:
- Attending half as many fires compared to a decade ago
- A third fewer house fires than a decade ago
- Almost a third fewer incidents altogether
The Labour/FBU position is essentially that any change to the LFB estate is a disaster regardless of how much work there is to do. This really is ridiculous. I remember working with LFB in 2003/4. It was obvious then that they were failing to match resources with demand and that this was wasting money. Long-standing Spanish practices resulted in mainly (men) sleeping in firestations overnight in locations where there were known to be no fires at night. It is only the deficit crisis that has caused LFB to finally grasp this nettle. The highly political and leftwing FBU will fight these changes tooth and nail. Labour will try to dramatise the ending of Spanish practices that are ripping off Londoners as dangerous cuts when they are no such thing.