The Greens and Labour joined forces to vote for a cut in the number of firefighters in Brighton and Hove at a meeting of East Sussex Fire Authority on Thursday 3 September.
The number of firefighters will be reduced from 104 to 100 across the three fire stations at Preston Circus, in Roedean and in Hove.
Their vote contradicts a public statement from Brighton and Hove City Council Labour councillors in June when they opposed the cuts on the basis that they could put lives at risk.
And it goes against a statement from the Brighton and Hove Green group calling on the fire authority to scrap the entire consultation that preceded the vote to scrap these posts.
It’s staggering that Labour and Green councillors could vote for these cuts to the city’s frontline firefighters after opposing them as recently as June.
Labour and Greens councillors often talk about protecting services to the public but when the chips were down they failed to stand up for firefighters – and for the fire service in the city of Brighton and Hove.
In May the Greens called for the consultation to be scrapped and in June Labour said that the cuts would put lives at risk and they pointed to a petition signed by 23,000 people.
But for our city there has been virtually no meaningful change to the plan since then, with Brighton and Hove set to lose four firefighters as opposed to five in the June version of the plan.
For both parties to say what they said and then vote to reduce the number of frontline firefighters in Brighton and Hove is the height of hypocrisy. It shows that the public cannot trust them.
One of the group leaders once said that cuts to the fire service were a “false economy”. I agree. It’s a shame that the leader has not put those words into practice for the benefit of Brighton and Hove.
Just like the cycle lanes and just like the urban fringe, with Labour you can’t listen to what they say. You need to watch what they do.
The public spoke loud and clear through the consultation – they want well-resourced fire stations across the city.
As a Conservative group we took a strong stand that we would not accept any cuts to frontline firefighters and we publicised this on Brighton and Hove News.
We lived up to our promise to the people of Brighton and Hove.
It is staggering that the Greens and Labour group did not – and they will be judged harshly by the residents of this city who value public services.
Councillor Steve Bell is the leader of the Conservative group on Brighton and Hove City Council.
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