Friday, May 17, 2013

Fire Cuts Should Burn Boris

I was proud to be among the 200 people who marched through Brixton to Lambeth Town Hall on the evening of Thursday 16 May to express our opposition to the closure of Clapham Fire Station (http://www.saveclapham.com/).



The subsequent public consultation reflected local feeling in that it was dominated by opposition to cuts and closures in our fire service. Having had the unique experience of speaking on top of a fire engine in order to address protestors, I was also lucky to be called to ask a question in a packed Assembly Hall.



I asked about the Equality Impact Assessment, copies of which were not available at the meeting and are only available online (http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/Documents/Sup16-Equality-analyses.pdf). This impact assessment is clearly a very important document, since the fire cuts being pushed by Mayor Boris increase response times to fires in Inner London whilst improving response times in much of Outer London.



The Commissioner didn't answer my question, but offered a meeting with the people who did the Equality Impact Assessment. I'm sure he didn't offer that hoping that I wouldn't bother - but if he did that was a poor judgment.



Lambeth UNISON will hold London's Fire Service to the promise from its most senior official of a proper dialogue about equalities. We certainly need to see - for example - a disaggregation of changes in response times as between those in "high-rise" flats and those who are not, which should be cross referenced with information about "protected characteristics".



We don't make idle criticisms - and if we need to assert our criticism we shall do so on the basis of evidence. We need rid of the current Mayor - whose fire cut plans are as poorly justified as they are intolerable.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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