30th October 2017
The Cheshire Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says the Fire and Rescue Service is in "crisis" due to funding cuts.
The FBU are backing Local Government Association calls for the Chancellor to end reductions to fire service funding when he delivers his upcoming budget statement.
The LGA claim that there has been a 22% rise in the last two years in the number of fire-related deaths involving those aged over 65.
They say that, with the over-85 population set to more than double by 2039, the risk to older generations needs to be addressed.
Andrew Fox-Hewitt, Brigade Secretary in Cheshire, says the issue will get worse if money continues to be taken away.
When asked if he thought funding cuts would lead to more fire-related deaths, he said: “It’s intrinsically linked that if you’ve got fewer firefighters to respond to emergencies, fewer firefighters to do the preventative work, then that will invariably be the case.”
Cllr Ian Stephens, Chair of the LGA’s Fire Services Management Committee, said: “The fact that people are living longer is to be celebrated but this presents a clear and additional risk to fire and rescue services which have had their funding cut by around 40 per cent over a four-year period.
“Projected rises in both the elderly population, including those living alone, and the number of people living in privately rented homes will only increase the risk of more fires putting people’s lives in danger.
“Despite an overall fall in fires following successful fire prevention work, certain types of fire, such as deliberate primary fires, are on the rise, which is concerning.”