Our fire and rescue services, including firefighters from Heywood and other stations across Greater Manchester, responded magnificently to the floods in Cumbria.
As local media reported (see the report here), firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service helped rescue around 30 residents suffering the consequences of Storm Desmond.
I was delighted to be able to pay tribute to our firefighters in parliament this week. However, as I reminded the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark MP, our fire and rescue services have suffered 30% cuts over the last five years, causing the loss of nearly 7,000 firefighters—one in eight of the total number—and equipment and appliances have been cut by more than 12% in metropolitan fire and rescue services. With such huge losses already suffered, and another 40% cuts planned by the Tories in the next five years, our fire service is at tipping point. It is not safe, effective or efficient simply to keep cutting resources.
That is why I asked the Secretary of State for his commitment to providing adequate resources so that the service can continue to contribute to national resilience on the scale and at the speed the public expect. Sadly, he was unable to do so. Our fire and rescue service has been stretched almost to breaking point by the Tory government, and firefighters I speak to are all seriously concerned about the impact of the further cuts to come.
Alongside my Labour colleagues, I will continue to press the government on this important issue.
Watch my challenge to the government here and find out more about my work in parliament by visiting my page on They Work For You