Tory Government ‘ignoring Grenfell warning signs’, say firefighters’ leaders

From Morning Star: Firefighters’ leaders have accused the government of ignoring the warning signs of Grenfell, as new figures showed a rise in incidents amid continued fire service cuts.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said that, despite mounting difficulties over the last year, the government continued to “starve” fire authorities of funding.

There were 564,827 incidents in England in the past year, an increase of more than 4,000.

Firefighters attended more than 167,000 fires, the most since 2011-12, said the FBU, adding that the long period of improvements in public safety has plateaued, with cuts the “most likely explanation” for the rise.

The union said that, since 2010, one in five firefighting jobs have been cut, including around 10,000 in Englan

FBU national officer Dave Green said: “These dreadful new figures confirm firefighters’ worst fears. Austerity cuts are now damaging public safety.”

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

Tory ministers ‘refusing to pay for fire safety measures’ after Grenfell

From the Guardian: Councils have said the Tory government is failing to release funds to improve the fire safety of dozens of tower blocks following the Grenfell Tower disaster despite promising that a lack of financial resources should not stand in the way of essential works.

[Read full report on Guardian website…] 

George Monbiot: “What happened in Grenfell Tower was murder, mass murder”

George Monbiot tells Double Down News: “What happened in Grenfell Tower was murder, mass murder.

“It’s ‘let’s strip away’ all the public protections which prevent lots of people from being incinerated.

“There’s a whole infrastructure of fake think tanks, of these neoliberal lobby groups, funded by dark money, journalists, columnists in the corporate press, government ministers and advisers, whose whole role in life is to try to destroy public protections. because those public protections limit corporate profits. Read more

Watch Boris Johnson telling opponent to ‘get stuffed’ when questioned on fire cuts

From The Independent: During his time as Mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s cuts in 2014 led to the closure of 10 fire stations and the loss of 552 firefighter jobs, following on from an 8% reduction in fire staff between 2007 and 2012.

At the time, Labour Assembly leader Andrew Dismore raised the issue of these cuts during a meeting at City Hall.

Boris’s reply was telling him to “get stuffed”.

[Watch video on Independent website…]

Jonathan Pie: “This country spends millions papering over poverty with flammable cladding”… and it’s a metaphor for Tory ideology

Jonathan Pie on Tory Britain: “This country spends millions on social housing. Not building social housing or making it safe, clean and habitable, but where we spend millions papering over poverty with flammable cladding.”

Papering Over Poverty

Is austerity putting lives in danger?

Posted by Jonathan Pie on Sunday, June 18, 2017

“If that isn’t a metaphor for what this government’s ideology has done to our country, I don’t know what is.

“Cladding over poverty, so that posh people simply don’t have to look at it. Not in any way improving poor people’s lives, just ensuring that posh people don’t have to look at shitty houses. Priority #1.

“For an extra £2 you can make each section of cladding fireproof. ‘What’s the fucking point of that?’ Says it all, doesn’t it. Cladding over poverty, a veneer of compassion, a dangerous, sub-standard, least-amount-of-hassle-possible facade, to ensure the rich don’t have to acknowledge the existence or realities of being poor.

“We don’t need to make social housing better, we just need to make it look better. Because then property prices in the area will increase, and that is good for our economy, which is good for everyone… But mainly good for people in nice houses. Read more

Labour says government must answer ‘serious questions’ after Grenfell fire

From The Guardian: Labour has called on the government to answer “some very serious questions” about why it failed to act on coroners’ concerns about two previous tower block fires before the catastrophic blaze at Grenfell Tower.

John Healey, the shadow housing minister, demanded that a government minister come to the Commons for a special statement session on Thursday. “Overnight we have asked the government: get a minister into parliament today, let parliament recognise how serious this tragedy is,” Healey told ITV’s Good Morning Britain. Read more

If you vote Conservative on 8th June, you are voting for more people to die preventably in house fires

#ToryCutsKill #FireServiceCutsKill: The latest figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show…

Posted by Stop The Tories Channel on Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The latest figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show that 294 people died in fires in England during 2015, an increase of 21% compared with the 242 deaths recorded in 2014 and the largest increase since figures were published in 2001-02.

Nearly 10,000 firefighter jobs have been cut in the last six years.

The Conservative minister for policing and the fire service, Brandon Lewis, says there’s room for even more reductions beyond the 30% cuts. The fire service faces cumulative budget cuts of up to 50% by 2020, from 2010 levels.

“The budget cuts have seen the loss of frontline firefighters, response times getting longer, stations closing and fire prevention measures reduced too,” said a statement from the chief fire officers from the six largest English cities outside London.

Read more

Firefighters blame cuts for 15% increase in fire-related deaths

From Sky News: Government cuts are to blame for a rise in fire-related deaths in England last year, according to the union representing firefighters.

Official figures show that 303 people died in fires during 2015/16, up 15% on the previous year.

Response times to all types of serious fires also rose, in some cases by as much as one minute and eight seconds.

The Fire Brigades Union said the figures reflect the real impact that cuts have had on the ability of firefighters to do their job in recent years.

Matt Wrack, the union’s general secretary, said: “I think fire crews are increasingly angry about how they are being treated by this Government.

Read more

Fire deaths rise by 21% as chiefs issue cuts warning

From The Guardian: Chief fire officers have warned that further budget cuts pose a risk to community safety as official figures revealed the biggest increase in fire deaths for a decade.

Their warning comes as MPs vote on Tuesday on a Labour move to block the takeover of the fire service by police and crime commissioners, who face election next month.

The latest figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show that 294 people died in fires in England during 2015, an increase of 21% compared with the 242 deaths recorded in 2014 and the largest increase since figures were published in 2001-02.

The rise comes after a decade in which the long-term trend in the death toll from fires fell, from a peak of 469 in 2003.

Read more

Questions raised over fire service budget cuts after fatal fire in Merseyside

From the Fire Industry Association: The Fire Brigades Union has said the outcome of a fatal fire in Merseyside ‘could have been different’ if a local fire station had not been closed.

An elderly couple from the Wirral were tragically killed in the blaze, which broke out at their home, as fire crews missed their target response time due to five fire engines in the area attending a warehouse fire.

A fire engine attended the house fire from Upton fire station but remained without any backup for more than 10 minutes until a second engine arrived.

The station at West Kirby, which was located nearest to where the blaze broke out, closed last year as Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service attempts to axe £11m from its budget by 2019-20.

The FBU said that budget cuts to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service has seen its number of fire engines available to respond to emergencies cut from 42 to just 28.

Read more