Report Reveals Fire Services are Struggling Under Austerity Measures

The Fire Brigades Union has said that a set of inspections confirm that fire and rescue services across the country are struggling to provide basic functions. The reports are from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, which has statutory responsibility for the inspection of fire and rescue services and police forces across the country. This set of reports covers 12 local fire and rescue services. Reports in respect of a number of services found that they "required improvement" when it came to ‘effectively and efficiently keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks.’ Andy Dark, assistant general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said that: "We cannot have a situation where multiple fire and rescue services across the country require improvement when it comes to keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks, as this suite of reports states. Many people don’t think about the fire and rescue service until they need it, but when the need arises they want the certainty of a fast and full response. It’s what they pay their taxes for. When the state of the fire and rescue services is discussed with people overwhelmingly they are appalled at how it has been downgraded over the last decade or so" "Let’s be absolutely clear on what is causing these shortfalls. Since 2010, fire and rescue services across the country have seen their budgets slashed. For example, between 2013 and 2020 alone they saw real-terms spending cut by 38%, and since 2010 we have had a cut of one in every five firefighter jobs. The government will not be surprised at these findings. This is its decade-old project to cut public services working exactly as expected. The government needs to start reinvesting to make up for the shortfall in funding, end austerity and start taking public safety seriously."

You can access the reports here. The services with reports in this tranche are:

  • Avon
  • Bedfordshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Cheshire
  • Cornwall
  • Greater Manchester
  • Hereford & Worcester
  • Lincolnshire
  • Merseyside
  • Northumberland
  • Surrey