Firefighters are warning their life-saving services could buckle under the demands of Bonfire Night, as cuts have left them “significantly under-resourced”.
Fire and rescue services in England are operating with almost a third less funding than they were eight years ago, new figures from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have revealed.
“Bonfire night is a massive stress and strain on fire and rescue services and firefighters, and we are hugely concerned as to how a significantly under-resourced fire and rescue service will cope”, said Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary.
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Last year’s festivities saw London Fire Brigade bombarded with more 999 calls than they’d seen in five years. With some councils cutting their annual fireworks display due to cost of living pressures, there are concerns that firefighters could face a busier than usual bonfire weekend due to a rise in DIY displays.
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While the life-saving services received £1.2billion in 2013-14, this has dropped to £882million. When taken into account alongside spiralling inflation, the service is trying to cope with a real-terms funding cut of 40 per cent.