Fighting off a ‘threat’ to our fire service

Clive Grunshaw, police and crime commissioner for Lancashire Constabulary
Clive Grunshaw, police and crime commissioner for Lancashire Constabulary
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I refer to Mr Royston Jones’ letter in regard to ‘Tory Assault on our fire service’ (Your Say, August 8).

I am a member of the Lancashire Fire Authority, which is recognised as one of the best fire services in the whole of the UK. The service has to tackle a variety of problems including domestic and industrial incidents, moorland fires, floods and rescues - not just human rescues but animals too.

The service works closely with other blue light comrades offering vital support to both police and ambulance.

Lancashire Fire service is extremely well run, in a good financial position and is currently recruiting not sacking.

The biggest threat to our local service is the continued quest by our Labour Crime Commissioner, Mr Clive Grunshaw, to take over control of Lancashire Fire Authority.

This is being aggressively resisted by every single member of the authority who represent all Lancashire councils and from all political parties including his own Labour party.

I recently presented a motion to Blackpool Council which asked for an agreement to try and stop Mr Grunshaw’s takeover. It was seconded by Labour Coun Fred Jackson and supported by the Labour leader of the council, Coun Simon Blackburn. The Chairman of the Lancashire Fire Authority is also a county council Labour councillor who was able to pass the same motion in County Hall. Wyre and Fylde councils are doing the same. It’s also interesting to note that the Fire Brigade Union has unanimously voted not to support Mr Grunshaw’s proposed take-over

Deaths have risen due to larger fires such as the Grenfell Tower tragedy, which have nothing at all to do with reduced frontline firefighters. In fact the majority of reductions in fire service staff are from administration.

Minister Nick Hurd’s visit to Lancs Fire Authority was part of an annual very rigorous inspection - only one of many the service has to undergo with, so far, flying colours.

The problem is greater in London where the previous mayor introduced several cuts and closed some stations but it is interesting to note that the new Labour mayor has done nothing to improve this despite having the powers to do so.

If Mr Jones is genuinely concerned about our fire service then instead of regurgitating his party leader’s slanted comments he should join his Labour colleagues and lobby the crime commissioner to get his own house in order before attempting to build his empire by taking over our fire service. In other words tell him to ‘back off’.

Coun Tony Williams
Leader of The Conservative Group, Blackpool Council