Firefighters unsurprised by Mayor’s budget approval

19:30 25 February 2013

Paul Embery said the union was considering its next course of action. File picture: Johnny Green/PA Archive

Paul Embery said the union was considering its next course of action. File picture: Johnny Green/PA Archive

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Firefighters have admitted they resigned themselves to the approval of Boris Johnson’s cost-cutting plans to close a dozen of the capital’s fire stations, despite showing up to demonstrate.

Members of the London Fire Brigades Union showed up at this morning’s London Assembly meeting at City Hall, where the Mayor’s 2013/2014 budget was passed despite an attempt by the opposition to amend it.

One firefighter was evicted after heckling the Mayor, and several interrupted proceedings while members voted down the proposed amendments.

The London Fire Brigade has also proposed removing 18 fire engines and axing 520 jobs in a bid to save £45million.

Paul Embery, regional secretary of the London Fire Brigade Union, said they were considering their next steps.

But they are now waiting on the result of an emergency meeting of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, which will decide whether to continue its opposition to Mr Johnson’s proposals despite his threat to take legal action unless it backs down.

“Today didn’t surprise us. Our full expectation was that the Tories would get behind the Mayor,” Mr Embery said.

“Someone heckled that it’s the Tories on one side and the rest of London on the other.

“The majority of the GLA are opposed to the cuts, the officers are opposed and a couple of Tory councils (Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea) have come out against them.

“It seems that Boris Johnson and a handful of GLA members are the only people in London in favour of these cuts.”

Stephen Knight AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly budget spokesman, said it was “a sad day for London’s emergency services”.

He said: “The Mayor’s attack on London emergency services is unnecessary and ideologically driven.

“Our priority is the safety of Londoners, sadly his only priority is a trivial one pence a day cut in council tax.

“If the Mayor really thinks Londoners back his savage attack on our emergency services he should have the courage to consult them.”

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