Friday, December 21, 2012

Bloodbath at Birkenshaw

Ok ok so we are exagerating just a teeny bit.... but it was  a very interesting meeting.

One of the comments ........

Cllr Brian Selby ----  "the consultation had been exemplary"   and he congratulated the officers and staff of the authority for their  sterling work. He slated "certain blogs and websites" however for making  offensive  and personal remarks about staff. 

Doh Brian!!!   its not offensive - its was factual, constructive and yes a tad close to the bone, but necessary.........



 And actually it worked ......Simon  Pilling & Co did not get the result they wanted. Their "expert"  opinion was challenged and overturned.  

We at FCCL and the FBU and many other groups and individuals have forced (yes forced) a load of councillors who have for years and years done as they were told by Chief Fire Officer Pilling.  his predecessors and his staff  and challenged him and four stations were saved. Four in our opinion isn't enough and we must try harder going into 2013 but by hell we all made a difference.  

We have decided to celebrate our small success to publish  a small book of poetry and pictures used in this campaign to raise money for the FBU Benevolent Fund ---- details will be available shortly. 

Many Thanks for YOUR SUPPORT 

Fire Cuts Cost Lives Team 

Monday, December 17, 2012

So What's New

So Whats New?

Well the Consultation Period is over (or is it?) . Following massive rejection of the proposals, WYF&RS have now watered down their plans  They can be found here->.  
A report of the consultation can also be found amongst the agenda of the meeting due to take place on Friday.( It can be found here)  from Page 91 onwards - but we have copied the relevant pieces:-


4.1 The Authority received  seven letters/emails 
(NOTE -Only SEVEN! -editor) 
of support or indications of no objection to the proposals.  These were from West Yorkshire Resilience Forum, Leeds City Council Safer and Stronger Scrutiny Committee, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, (What about South Yorkshire Fire Service?-Editor) Kirklees Council and two residents from Marsden and Morley. (Must be officers? ed')

4.2 12,037 letters/emails of objection/concern from individuals, groups or organisations were received - 1,309 being unspecific in nature.  
Across the county 
45% of these relate to proposals in the Leeds district, 
22% within the Bradford district, 
13% in Wakefield district, 
9% in the Kirklees district 
and less than 
1% in the Calderdale district. 
This contrasts to a total 2,999 items of formal representation received following public consultation during September – December 2011 regarding seven proposals to change emergency cover in West Yorkshire.
Wow what an increase! We at FCCL wonder why?

4.3 There was a volume of correspondence that opposed changes in the districts of Bradford and Leeds.  258 letters/emails of objection/concern related to changes proposed across the  Bradford District and  14 letters/emails were received relating to  changes across the Leeds District. The issues of concern are captured under the relevant proposals below. 

4.4 Activity/responses relating directly to the eleven proposals was as follows (all figures  excluding responses by the Fire Brigades Union  and Fire Officers’ Association which are outlined at sections 4.15.1 and 4.15.2 below).


It doesn't say, however, how many hits their web site had! 
We suspect the reason is, is because this site had many more! 

We do still have concerns about the way stakeholders were consulted! (See below). 
ONLY 100!

3.1 Approximately 100 stakeholders were identified for direct contact,  including Members of Parliament; district, town and parish councils; neighbouring fire authorities and emergency services; local representative bodies; external employer and employee organisations and voluntary bodies. Representations 
were invited by 30 November 2012.

OK As we at FCCL Have already said, 100, in a county the size of West Yorkshire, IS NOT VERY MANY! and only an increase in 20 on last years!

 Click here to see  What we feel consultation with Stakeholders should be all about!

In the article found here , it comments that- 
"THOUSANDS of residents in more than 100 council wards across West Yorkshire will lose out on emergency response times if radical fire service cutbacks are carried out."

 100 council Wards would equal 300 councillors!

3.2 In recognition of the fact that it was not possible to communicate individually with 
all those who may wish to submit observations, the proposals were  also 
publicised via the internet and intranet, the print (See the links here, here and here and broadcast media. 
This year a consultation email account was provided and published to improve ease of 
communication for the public.  In addition, a consultation email account and 
hotline  was established in the  Public Information Office  for people seeking 
further information and assistance on the consultation process and timetable.


The new proposal now suggest that apart from the removal of appliances from some stations, Garforth, Rothwell and Morley, 
             are down graded to Day Crewing!

Day Crewing is a duty system contained within firefighters' national 
terms and conditions, however, any move on to this system is 
voluntary, as it requires staff to live within  5 minutes of the station.  
Firefighters are suitably recompensed with an on-call allowance, 
turnout fees and rent/fuel allowance.  In theory, there are sufficient staff 
living within the 5 minute zone at all stations proposed to change to the 
Day Crewing system but further work is required to establish interest in 
working this duty system.

What this means is that, apart from all the additional costs and implementation problems, (as above) which they haven't mentioned!

On an evening, 
There will be a delay of 5 Minutes before an appliance can attend if there is an incident! 

WYF&RS Say- The response in the evening and at nights from 
Morley would be delayed by up to five minutes compared to its current performance due to firefighters responding from home and therefore, in some cases, the wholetime shift  Hunslet fire engine would respond faster into Morley’s area.

This is actually worse than the original proposals!-

Councillor Robert Finnigan (Morley Independants) has already e mailed us and shown his support!

And NOTHING is mentioned about the time increase in the revised proposals for!

Back in 2004 WYF&RS tried to downgrade Garforth to Day Crewing (see link here) (and here)
This is what happened then!
Article can be found here!

Victory for Public Opinion!

We at FCCL feel that these new proposals are once again subject to further public consultation and urge every one concerned to immediately contact their  
Local Councillor 
to demand that this now takes place,


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Can you guess how many times the Chief Fire Officer

Well readers,  we have had Simon had an FRU ....... click  HERE to read the article, but Simon also has a rather nice car. 

In fact Steve, Martyn and Craig also have nice cars,  that cost us the tax payer  thousands a year in leasing fees.

IF  these high performance vehicles were used to race through the wind, hail, rain, snow and even “shock horror” sunshine,  we probably wouldn't mind too much.




Can you guess how many times 
the Chief Fire Officer 
turned out to an incident in 2011 /12 ?

10 times15  maybe even 20 !


the answer is 
CFO Pilling (call sign 0101 ) according to his own oracle database did not turn out to an “incident” once in 2011/12 !

SO,  that begs the question .............Should he have a car that is deemed “tax free” because he allegedly needs it for operational reasons? 

In fact we know that some of the new NHS Commissioning Boards are recalling lease cars and making staff use their own cars for “operational use” this includes NHS Senior managers and even includes some community nurses and midwives. Now we at FCCL would say a community nurse probably uses their car  for work every day, and Simon and Co don't. 

So, below is a table of how much the cars cost for the WYFRS top table and how often they have been used to attend an incident  / emergency ......... and we don’t mean that quick sprint to the supermarket when they have run out of milk. 

Call sign
No of Incidents attended
Cost of car per annum








And of course DCFO Beckley is part time - but does he get  a full time tax free allowance for his car ?


And we have to admit although we are outraged by what we have learnt,  we here at FCCL are not tax accountants. So we have done the responsible thing and sent the information about the issue and expressed our concerns to  Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs................... lets see what they define as operational use.

We would also like to know why the CFO gets a flashier car than the others ................?  Surely his ego doesn’t need the boost of a better car – how petty,  and in these days of belt tightening, what a waste – look after the pennies and all that!!! Mind you when you earn of £160k a year do you actually know what a penny is ?   Click  HEREto learn more about salaries at the top table 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Fred Nietzsche & The Fire Brigade

Well,  we hear you say - what has Frederick Neitzsche got to do with Fire & Rescue ? 

The answer is simple........


Nietzsche was well known for his irony, which some would interpret as sarcasm, (i mean as if !!! )  ----- today we were reminded of one of Nietzsche's thinner works when we learnt that  there was a four pump mill fire in Haworth, which commenced at 6am and was closed at 12 noon. 


that nice low risk rural community where four pump fires are 




(if of course it is deemed to be an accident by the  powers that be) 

Today at 6am a fire broke out at  Lees Mill, Shepherd Croft, HAWORTH   in an area on the ground floor approx  15m x50m 

4 engines attended - Crews from Keighley, Haworth and Bingley attended 

and strangely enough the buildings postcode 

BD22 8RZ  

is deemed VERY LOW RISK 
 according to WYFRS !!!!

 and of course "post cuts"  two of the attending engines simply wouldn't be there to attend. Engines would 
have to be sent from further afield........ and of course  pre cuts, post cuts and during the cuts one thing will not change -

 a fire doubles in size every minute........ 

So to use Fredrick's words we at FCCL say 

"One day associated with our name  West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue  there will be a recollection of something frightful, of a fire like no other in West Yorkshire, and of the profoundest collision of conscience" * 

* please note we here at FCCL have fully working consciences -trouble is we are not sure  who at the fire authority and fire service have them. Because surely if there is a fire  they will all be very busy indeed blaming each other for the cuts in provision............. but by then it will be 


Details of the fire can be found HERE at the Keighley News Website. ......... 

To read more of how businesses are affected by fire read our article "Businesses Down the Pan which is available HERE

A mill fire which devastated a Haworth Mill on Aug 14th 2010 demonstrates what fire can do to both buildings and businesses is below ............. seems fires in Haworth are not as rare as WYFRS seem to want us to believe. 

Monday, December 03, 2012

HOW MANY !!!!!!!

We here at FireCutsCostLives need to say a big THANK YOU 

When we started this blog in September  we aimed to get 1751 hits

(one more than WYFRS had on their site during the 2011 consultation period)   

In September we had  1,214

By October we had 10,928 hits in one month 

And by November we had 28,859 hits 

This gives a grand total throughout the 12 week period of consultation of 41,001 hits  

As we were directing our traffic to the WYFRS website we wonder how many they got? 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Accountability & Openness

In the  Code of Conduct 

we found these two definitions 

ACCOUNTABILITY: Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

OPENNESS: Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

So  as tomorrow is the last day of "consultation" we here at FCCL will be sending an email  next Monday to every member of the fire authority and senior members of the management team at WYFRS  asking them (in the spirit of openness and accountability of course ) what they have done in regard of promoting the consultation process. 

How many public / private meetings have they organised ?
How many public / private meetings have they attended ? 
How many emails  they have had from constituents in opposition (or favour) of the proposed cuts in provision?

But sadly we are prepared to be bitterly disappointed - we suspect that many will simply not reply - some such  as Cllr Gil Thornton & MP Hilary Benn will even show contempt and delete our emails unread.  (in which case we will have to FOI them for the information ). 

But it does already seem that deals are being done behind closed doors.............


the tail you can see disappearing is that of the station cat at Haworth  -  station cat reported that last night her fire station had a very special visitor, its so interesting we have posted the whole message below.  

"Deputy Chief Steve Beckley at Haworth last night; Told them that Keighley is to lose a pump in April and Haworth will be staying open for the time being. What happened to the consultation process? Mr Beckley is the Deputy who has taken his pension but stayed on, so he now gets £60,000 salary and £60,000 pension, taking him back up to his original £120,000. He will also be drawing interest on his half a million lump sum at the same time, so another £10,000 there. Could he be the best part time employee in the county? "

YES - we think he probably is !!!
(this scheme is NOT open to ordinary fire fighters btw) 

With information like this - its no wonder we at FCCL get cross - we have of course emailed Simon Pilling to ask if this is TRUE - for a start was DFO Beckley at Keighley last night would be a good place to start.   

BUT it seems that deals are already being done ------  without the consultation process even finishing..................   

anyway for nearly the last time (well till next year) 


Email Hannah Stoneman (HERE
(And don’t forget to copy in your MP, 
Local Councillor, 
Fire authority members, 
see the Contacts list for their E-mail addresses HERE

Or Write to her Here:-
Hannah Stoneman
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
Oakroyd Hall
Bradford Road
West Yorkshire
BD11 2DY


Oh dear we have made a mistake .....

Sadly we have to report we are hearing rumours that Gerry Sutcliffe


Signed the early day motion as we were assured by his staff

We will be contacting his office to find out why ---- 

well we contacted his office and they said - its on his desk waiting to be signed .......... we watch and wait to see what happens.

In the meantime here are some  more labour politicians who are opposing the closures click HERE
 it will be interesting to see how all of this pans out - the fire authority being labour controlled.... will they submit and be whipped (like last year) - we watch with interest. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Is the Chief Fire Officer Worth £160,369 ?

Is the Chief Fire Officer Worth   

£160,369  a year ? 

We have in previous posts referred to the consultation co-ordinator as the  "propaganda person"  well seems we are correct in our assumption as  yesterday morning we awoke to the Telegraph and Argus praising the fire service for their predicted underspend of £1.47 million after slashing its wage bill........... well we are very much aware of some wages that are NOT being slashed. 

David Cameron, the Prime Minister is paid 

£142,500 per annum  to run* the country 

* we use the term loosely of course 

Simon Pilling 

Chief Fire Officer, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue 

Courtesy of Bradford  Telegraph & Argus 

starts off with a basic ............£151,572

+  £1,572 expense allowance
+ £7,224 benefits in kind (lease car which is not taxable

which in total amounts to 

Over one hundred and sixty thousand pounds.   

and where did we get this figure from  

2011 /2012 statement of accounts 
which are available HERE

Lets get this in perspective a "bog standard,  fire fighter" who works shifts, does the dirty work and risks their life gets an average of 

Simon Pilling gets a £32,285 employer contribution to his pension every year, more than even a firefighter earns !

But it isn't just him - below are some other salaries that may shock you. 

So we close this post with some lines that were sent to us -  from  someone who has like us got the poetry bug the tune of Londons Burning - just in case you didn't guess 

Yorkshire burning, Yorkshire burning
Got no engines, got no engines
Dire dire, dire dire
Poor on water, poor on water

Simon's earning, Simon's earning
Sold the engines, sold the engines
Hire hire, hire hire
Tories bought yer, Tories bought yer

It's concerning, it's concerning
Stats cut engines, stats cut engines
Liar liar, liar liar
Give no quarter, give no quarter

Tomorrow we will tell you all about how certain other wage bills are going up up up  but for now just read about the £50 - £55 thousand a year scandal. Its in a post called 1,000 and counting and its available HERE 


Email Hannah Stoneman (HERE
(And don’t forget to copy in your MP, 
Local Councillor, 
Fire authority members, 
see the Contacts list for their E-mail addresses HERE

Or Write to her Here:-
Hannah Stoneman
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
Oakroyd Hall
Bradford Road
West Yorkshire
BD11 2DY

Open letter to Hilary Benn MP

Fire cuts cost lives - why did you delete an email  unread!!!

courtesy of British Inspiration Trust   

I was very sad to note that an email sent to you by the campaign group firecutscostlives on the 26th November 2012  (of which I am a part)  was deleted by you unread  yesterday.  It was to ask if you would support the early day motion 694 brought by  Kate Hoey. I can  only assume from  its deletion you are happy with the proposals to massacre the fire and rescue service when you clearly said in an email to me  dated  2nd December 2011

 “I am of course concerned about the impact cuts may have across West Yorkshire, especially if the Government persists with its unfair treatment of the Met Fire Authorities which face a further unfair budget reduction in future years. The Authority does not want to be doing this.
On what’s proposed locally, my principal concern as your MP is to ensure that local residents have the same effective fire service cover with an ability to respond to incidents within the required times, not just from the proposed new fire station at Killingbeck but also from other stations around Leeds. That is what I have sought assurances about. As you know, the Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling has said he fully understands the concerns of people who have objected to the proposals but he remains convinced that the plans are operationally sound and will “still enable us to deliver a first-class emergency service across the whole of West Yorkshire.” The thing that will convince me is seeing that promise kept, and I can assure you that I will keep a close eye on this and I am sure you will too.”

I would like to think you too like myself and many others feel that Simon Pillings “promise”  has not been kept – that now we will not have the same fire cover as the IRMP proposed for 2012/13 will remove assurances  made that we would  have sufficient cover. But sadly your deletion of  the email means that you still I can only assume that you believe the rhetoric of Simon Pilling and not the valid concerns of your constituents and operational fire fighters and Fire Brigades Union who oppose these cuts.  Many labour councillors and an MP turned out to the November 3rd March and Rally organised by the FBU although I can only hope that the labour controlled fire authority will not do as last year and three line whip members when they know  that the cuts they implement will cost lives. Surely being in “opposition” means just that – why rubber stamp cuts you know are wrong?

With regard to the response times that are circulated by WYFRS do you genuinely believe that the entirety of Burmantofts and Richmond Hill (and indeed other areas of your constituency ) can be covered by one simple figure. 6:27 seconds ? It will of course impact  on the poorer and socially deprived areas of the wards which should surely be your major concern? (but of course these are the people and areas least likely to vote) But if you delete emails from campaign groups I can only assume the worst, you are in favour of these cuts and will see provision decimated in our area.   

Sadly  as non of the labour councillors bothered to note or  comment at the inner east area committee  a few weeks ago (and I appreciate it isn’t your patch) but house fires in Seacroft and Killingbeck are rising. Even the leafy suburb of Chapel Allerton has only 2 less house fires a year than Richmond Hill! Statistics can deceive and of course a middle aged woman cannot compete against uniformed officials who use their power to deceive.

Anyway,   this morning I have FOI’d  WYFRS to request a copy of the letter of you wrote in response to last years IRMP,  that  Simon Pilling assured the fire authority you had verbally retracted when he contacted you last year.  I  previously requested it from WYFRS and was refused by officers of the authority who said I required your permission, I am confident under Freedom of Information regulations this is not true. It would however be quicker if you would supply me with a copy of the letter yourself.  I am sure the community will find it an interesting read ................ and perhaps at somepoint you can explain yourself to us – after one of your constituents has died in a fire perhaps!

I am deeply disappointed in your actions Hilary, I naively thought better of you. A labour MP surely should fight cuts in public service provision and the job losses that ensue?

Please note I have posted this email on the firecutscostlives blog and I along with thousands of our readers look forward to the response .

Sarah Covell

However - three cheers for Gerry Sutcliffe!!! 

courtesy of Telegraph  & Argus 

the Bradford South MP (Labour)  who HAS responded to our email  AND signed the Early Day Motion. 

Many Thanks Gerry for your concern and prompt response. If you would like to thank Gerry in person his website is  HERE

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Coming Soon - HOW MUCH ??????

We  have held off for as long as we can 

Tonight we will tell you HOW MUCH Simon Pilling the Chief Fire Officer gets paid -  is he worth it ?  

We have already explained how the number of staff has increased recently  - read all about it  HERE 

We will also  reveal  a few more interesting facts about the 

WYFRS payroll. 

We here at FCCL have our personal opinions about this  and maybe, just maybe we will be sharing them with you. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Performance Report 2011/12

Performance Reporting 

 - we took a peek at the 2011 /2012 performance report. 

The full report is available HERE


Number of injuries from accidental fires 
per 100,000  


(9.07% with a target of 7.22)

Now we know from  various station cats across the WYFRS estate  that to get a fire logged as "accidental" or "deliberate"  has been difficult recently,  requiring the attendance of a fire investigation officer rather than the professional experience of the officer in charge- could this be to re profile the above statistic?  

Yes we think so. 

Scarily the Figures are   RISING for 

Number of Fire Casualties (excluding precautionary checks) 
per 100,000 population

( 12.18% with a target of 10.38%) 

Further investigation this shows that West Yorkshire is 
5th out of the 6 metropolitan district fire authorities 
for fire casualties.  

A N Y W A Y 

THIS IS IT !!!!!

 the final week of "consultation"

 although we use the term loosely as we are not convinced

 that WYFRS have actually wholeheartedly embraced the concept.

 It means beings being proactive - rather than the

 "lets sit on our hands" 

and go la la la   strategy they seem to  have adopted. 

Which yet again begs the question what do they employ their "communications" experts to do ? (apart from ringing up FCCL members to try and shut them up ?)  

Perhaps they would be better named - propaganda persons as that is what they promote? For more on this click HERE

We don't doubt that here at FCCL we are going to have to keep soldiering away at Simon P and Co in the coming months AND YEARS - because if  they think we will pack up our laptops on December 21st they are very wrong indeed. 

We intend to.......................................

FCCL  have been so heartened by the community response to our blog we are planning great things for the future - and are already in discussions to co-ordinate with anti fire cuts provision further afield and link into to other brigades campaigns; share expertise etc because not even in our wildest dreams did we realise how successful the FCCL campaign  was going to be, and we have scored not hundreds but THOUSANDS more hits than we ever anticipated.

So to develop further we have linked with a national campaign run in Manchester

  Save Our Fire Service 

run by operational  fire fighter Simon  Hickman. The Save Our Fire Service  site is available HERE and covers national issues, but we at FCCL have a link under the campaigns tag HERE

But more importantly Simon has very kindly for the last week of the campaign set up an automated email  service that will allow you to record your objection to the cuts by simply adding your name, email address and post code  to a simple form, click send and an email will automatically be sent to every fire authority member, Hannah Stoneman, Simon Pilling  AND your local MP. 

How clever is that 

So to register YOUR OBJECTION TO THESE PROPOSALS  click    HERE    (please note you will see no text in the form) 

Now to tell you more about what the FBU have been up to click here to be transferred to the FBU pages on this site