Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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

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