ITV report on yesterday's Fire Authority meeting in Devon & Somerset where Firefighters & the public slam fire cuts and "sham" consultation.
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Following a meeting of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority at which a series of votes passed the implementation of substantial cuts to services across the two counties, FBU executive member for the South West and former Somerset firefighter, Tam McFarlane, said:
"Today was a bad day for the fire and rescue service, a bad day for local people and a bad day for democracy.
"It's clear that a majority of those who met today weren't there to represent the views of their constituents or the fire and rescue service, but to balance budgets and implement cuts.
"The consultation process they ran was clearly a sham. Union members had collected over 27,000 signatures from the public against these cuts, yet still they were pushed through. These cuts do not have the support of either the public or professionals in the fire and rescue service. Quite simply, we believe that these changes will put lives at risk."
FBU Brigade Chair Bob Walker said: "Our members are furious that these cuts have been put through in this manner.
"The cuts will result in full-time cover being down-graded at many stations across Devon and Somerset with the loss of around 149 front-line posts. We had received assurances that views expressed during the consultation would be listened to but that didn't happen in any meaningful way. Instead a majority of the councillors at the meeting simply drove through the cuts without any regard to the massive opposition that had been shown."
The union held a lobby of local people to voice their concerns at the meeting.