Ashfield MP demands end to fire service cuts that are ‘putting lives at risk’

We know all about the effect of Government cuts on fire services following the decision to reduce staffing at Ashfield fire station earlier this year, writes Gloria De Piero MP.

The full-time night shift at Ashfield is being replaced with retained, on-call firefighters.

Gloria De Piero MP

Gloria De Piero MP

Around 40 fire stations across the country have been forced to close due to low staffing levels.

This is happening in what is being said to be the busiest ever summer for fire services.

According to the Fire Brigades’ Union, 233 firefighter jobs in Nottinghamshire have been cut since the Tories came to power in 2010.

Nationally, nearly 12,000 firefighter jobs have been lost in the last eight years.

It is not surprising when you see how many millions of pounds have been cut from budgets during these years of austerity.

How is the fire service supposed to deliver its essential, life-saving service in the face of such cuts?

It is time that the Government took a closer look at this issue now, before anyone else dies due to the fire service being unable to respond as it should.

One of the most distressing cases I have dealt with in my time as MP for Ashfield was the death of Sutton woman Claire Martin in Italy in 2012.

You may well remember the awful circumstances of her death from stab wounds to the neck and the fact that the authorities in Italy gave a suicide verdict.

It was the treatment of her parents, Pat and Ray that made the case even more upsetting.

I have co-signed a motion for a backbench business debate in Parliament on the consular services offered to families following deaths abroad.

In a nutshell, the service offered to the Martins fell far short of what should be expected.

The services provided by the Foreign Office need standardising and improving so that bereaved families get the support they need.

I hope that by raising this issue in a debate, action will be taken and no more families will have to face their darkest hour without the much-needed support of the UK Government.