Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland has today (25th February 2014) called on the Government to provide more support for Cleveland Fire Brigade after new figures revealed serious increases in fire related incidents.
In the latest District Performance Quarterly factsheet (April – December 2013/14) ‘Total Fire Calls’ increased by over 54% from 1,985 in 2012/13 to over 3,000 in 2013/14. ‘Total Deliberate Fires’ also increased by almost 60% from 1,390 in 2012/13 to over 2,200 in 2013/14.
“These latest figures make for dire reading. Across the whole spectrum of performance indicators – bar one – things are getting worse. I believe they are proof of the immense pressure Cleveland Fire Brigade has been placed under, and that is before the latest round of Government cuts has been implemented.
“Despite Cleveland being one of the highest risk areas in England, and one of the most deprived, the Eric Pickles and his Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) are hitting it particularly hard. Already in this Parliament, the DCLG has imposed £4m of cumulative cuts on Cleveland, and is planning to impose a further £5.96m of cumulative cuts up to 2017/18.
“Cutting fire fighter numbers not only risks the Brigade’s ability to respond to emergencies, but also its ability to take proactive steps such as its community fire safety check scheme and its diversionary activities to reduce fire-related anti-social behaviour
“I have responded to the Fire Authority’s Community Integrated Management Plan to make a number of suggestions as to how the Authority should best use the limited resources it has and I feel particularly strongly that the Authority must do all it can do to avoid station closures and 25% reduction in the number of full-time firefighters that could see 130 full-time posts are being cut.
“I hope these performance indicators serve as a reminder the serious risk cuts to a life or death emergency service pose and I will continue to pressure the Government to see that Cleveland Fire Brigade gets its fair share of funding.”