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"No fat to cut" in North Yorkshire fire service
Over 50 firefighters and supporters demonstrated in Easingwold, North Yorkshire on Wednesday 24th June against cuts of £1.3 million to the North Yorks Fire and Rescue Service. The protest was held ahead of the fire authorities' meeting where these cuts were due to be put out to consultation.
One of the biggest issues the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has with the proposals is the introduction of mixed crewing. Instead of staffing fire engines with a full time crew, it is being proposed that crew sizes are further reduced to three, with an additional firefighter brought in from the part-time retained duty-system (RDS).
In the mostly rural North Yorkshire, there are big distances between stations, with RDS crewed stations in smaller towns being much further away from whole-time crewed stations. This, alongside other proposals, will lead to much longer response times.
As one FBU member on the protest commented: "In smaller fire brigades like North Yorkshire there's no fat to cut, services are over-stretched now."
FBU brigade secretary, Steve Howley, spoke to the protest, calling for it to be the start of a campaign across the county against the cuts, and for FBU members and supporters to make sure they mobilise again for the fire authority meeting in December which will make the final decision on the cuts, following 'consultation'.
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