Brighton and Hove to lose a fire engine and jobs

Posted On 05 Jun 2014 at 4:22 pm

A fire engine is to be cut from Preston Circus in Brighton or Hove after a meeting of the East Sussex Fire Authority in Eastbourne today (Thursday 5 June).

Between a dozen and two dozen jobs are also expected to go.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: “This means we continue to base four fire engines in the city which are crewed 24 hours a day.

“In addition, we provide an aerial ladder platform which can reach people in high rise buildings.

“The provision of this appliance will be reviewed in 2014-15.”

The decision was agreed by 10 votes to 8.

All six representatives of Brighton and Hove City Council who sit on the fire authority voted against the change along with two Labour councillors from Hastings.

They included Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty (Green), who was substituting for his colleague Councillor Sven Rufus, who is believed to have stepped down as the vice-chairman and resigned from the fire authority.

Their fellow Greens, Councillor Christopher Hawtree and Councillor Steph Powell, also voted against. So too did Councillor Bob Carden (Labour) and two Conservatives, Councillor Garry Peltzer Dunn and Councillor Carol Theobald.

The fire authority also voted to introduce a “day crewed plus” rota at Roedean Fire Station in Brighton in place of a “whole-time” shift system.

The fire service said: “‘Day crewed plus’ would be a new way of working for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and is successfully used by other fire and rescue services across England.

“It means that firefighters stay in accommodation provided by us on site on a self-rostering system.

“They are therefore still ready to turn out 24 hours a day.

“This option would mean we could save money by reducing posts but it would not affect attendance times.”

The change was agreed by 12 votes to 6. Those voting against it were Councillor Mac Cafferty, Councillor Hawtree, Councillor Powell and Councillor Carden, supported by two Labour members from Hastings.

The fire authority said that the proposals to change the service were being made in the face of funding cuts.

They were made after a consultation which ran between Monday 17 February and Monday 28 April.

The fire authority chairman Phil Howson said: “Like many public services we are facing the challenge of needing to change the way we work.

“Funding has been reduced and we have considered options carefully to find ways of maintaining our response standards.

“All members of the Fire Authority take their responsibilities very seriously and the outcome of this meeting was reached after robust debate and discussion.”

The fire service said that there would be no immediate change.

It added: “The proposals which have been agreed will need further work, including consultation with staff and representative bodies where appropriate.”

The East Sussex branch of the Fire Brigades Union said that the fire authority had not listened to public or firefighters but had instead chosen to vote through dangerous cuts.

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