Stephen Morgan MP met with local representatives from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in Parliament this week to discuss concerns that fire services in Portsmouth and across the country continue to face cuts despite impacts on safety and standards.
It comes following the release of new figures by the FBU which show that since 2010 Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue have lost 21% of firefighters, a total of 385 personnel. This is equivalent to one in five (1/5) within the service.
This has had a significant impact on the resilience of the fire and rescue service. Fewer firefighters mean slower response times, fewer home visits, fewer inspections – hitting communities in Portsmouth disproportionately due to the high population density in this area.
Mr Morgan discussed these issues with firefighters and local representatives from the Fire Brigades Union is raising concerns with the Home Office by tabling questions to Ministers on the adequacy of fire and rescue funding.
Local firefighters also raised challenges in meeting increasing demand, including increasing emergencies as a result of climate change and extreme weather.
Fire services are often called during instances of flooding, yet there is currently no statutory duty on the fire and rescue service to respond to major flooding and other extreme weather, meaning they do not have the necessary powers and resources to carry out this work safety and professionally.
Responding on the action he is taking, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:
”Firefighters in Portsmouth and across the country deserve recognition for the lifesaving and irreplaceable work they undertake to keep our communities safe.
“Instead, under this Government they have suffered unprecedented cuts for more than a decade, reducing their capacity to effectively respond to all emergencies, putting Portsmouth people at risk.
“The safety of local people is my utmost priority, which is why I’ll be urging Ministers to explain what urgent actions they will be taking to respond to the concerns set out by our city’s firefighters”.