On New Year's Eve I visited Heywood firefighters to thank them for their hard work and talk to them about the challenges facing the Fire and Rescue Service in 2016.
Firefighters from Heywood and other stations in Greater Manchester have helped countless families as part of rescue efforts following the devastating floods that have been suffered across the region in recent weeks (see here and here). I’ve visited Heywood Fire Station before, but it is great to be able to come and say hello again at this time of year when all our firefighters are working just as hard as they do all year round, and especially given the terrible weather and devastation of recent weeks.
I’m very grateful to members of Red Watch for showing me around and for taking the time to tell me about their work and their thoughts about the future of our Fire and Rescue Service.
Since 2010 our Fire and Rescue Service has struggled with huge cuts made by the Conservatives and Lib Dems, and now the Tories are planning even deeper cuts in the next few years. In the face of this uncertainty, our firefighters have remained professional, dedicated and passionate about their work and the vital service they provide. We owe it to them to give them the resources they need so that they can do the job they are trained to do, and the job we need them to do.
I have already appealed to the government to support our Fire and Rescue Service, and I will continue to support our firefighters.
For more information about the cuts suffered by our Fire and Rescue Service and the campaign to protect it, visit the Fire Brigades Union website here