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Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
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Navin's News: LFEPA

Boris forces through fire cuts

It was revealed today that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will continue to force through his cuts to the London Fire Brigade. The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) will meet next week to vote on the Mayor’s plans. The documents for that meeting – which were published this afternoon – show that the Mayor has backed down and will not close Clapham and New Cross Fire Stations. However, he will continue to try and force the rest of fire cuts through.

The Mayor wanted to close 12 fire stations, cut 18 fire engines and axe 520 firefighters. The updated plans released today show that Clapham will stay open, but will lose one of its two fire engines; Chelsea Fire Station will keep both of its fire engines; East Greenwich Fire Station will receive a second fire engine; and New Cross Fire Station will remain. This now means that 10 fire stations will still close with the total loss of 14 fire engines.

The stations that are now planned to close are Belsize, Bow, Clerkenwell, Downham, Kingsland, Knightsbridge, Silvertown, Southwark, Westminster and Woolwich.

The stations that will still lose a fire engine are: Chingford, Hayes, Leyton, Leytonstone, Peckham and Whitechapel.

I’m pleased that the Mayor has listened to local residents and has scrapped his reckless plans to close Clapham and New Cross Fire Stations. However, he needs to keep open the other 10 fire stations and 14 fire engines that he is trying to cut. At public meetings Londoners spoke with one voice against these cuts. Why has Boris not listened to Londoners fully and saved the other stations and engines as well? This looks like he is trying to divert attention from his other cuts, but we will keep fighting them as they are totally unnecessary.

We all know that savings have to be made, but the London Fire Brigade has already saved £66million from the back office. Boris is cutting too far and all to fund his penny a day council tax cut. What would you prefer, a penny a day or a fully funded fire service that can respond to incidents more quickly?

Public meetings have shown that Londoners are fearful for the safety of the areas where they live and work. They are understandably worried about injuries and fatalities from fire. I am deeply disappointed that Boris has failed to protect London’s fire brigade by scrapping his plans. He has let Londoners down with his plan to close 10 fire stations and axe 14 fire engines, after all this is about the protection of the whole of London.

Bully boy Boris needs to listen on fire cuts

On Friday the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Groups on the London Assembly agreed to alter the Mayor of London’s draft budget. The alteration, known formally as a ‘Technical Amendment’, forces the Mayor to review his budget. This is the first time for a decade this power has been used.

The changes made will force the Mayor to review freezing the council tax precept, rather than cutting it by 7pence per week for an average household. He has to report back to the London Assembly on 25th February. This would raise £9.4 million which will be used to keep all of the 12 fire stations open and 18 fire engines that are due to be cut. Monday’s vote at LFEPA relates specifically to the Mayoral Direction that Boris Johnson issued to impose his cuts on the London Fire Brigade. 

We are seeing yet more bully boy tactics from Boris Johnson over his planned fire cuts. The London Fire Authority has voted down the Mayor’s plans, reflecting the views of Londoners. We have presented him with a fully costed plan to keep all of London’s fire stations and fire engines. Only Boris could believe that closing 12 fire stations and axing 18 fire engines will improve the safety and security of Londoners.

Instead of threatening to sue us in court, the Mayor should come and speak to us and hear our plans to protect frontline emergency services. At the end of the day he is the Mayor of London and the buck stops with him. He has the power to keep these fire stations open and fire engines on the road. Rather than cutting council tax by 1p a day per household, he can freeze it and use the money to protect frontline emergency services. It’s up to him whether they are axed or not.”



1. The Mayor's threat to sue was reported late yesterday by the Evening Standard


Permanent link to this article
13th February 2013

BBC News: Neasden Fire

bbc london news.jpg

Mother and five children killed in Neasden house fire

A mother and five of her children have been killed in a house fire in north-west London.

Muna Elmufatish, 41, and her daughters Hanin Kua, 14, Basma, 13 and Amal, nine, died in the blaze with her sons Mustafa, five, and Yehya, aged two.

Her husband, Bassam Kua, 51, and another daughter Nur, 16, are in a critical condition following the fire in Neasden early on Saturday morning.

Police said they are not treating the deaths as suspicious.

Flames tore through the semi-detached house in Sonia Gardens as six fire engines and 30 firefighters tackled the blaze at about 01:00 BST.


'Like a bomb'

One neighbour said he heard a loud bang from the home of the family who are thought to be Palestinian, which sounded "like an explosion, almost like a bomb".

He added: "We all went outside and we saw firemen looking out the window and shouting, 'there's people in there'. It was horrific."

LFB station manager Glen Gorman, who was at the scene, said: "There's no doubt this is an absolute tragedy.

Chief Supt Matthew Gardner: 'Thorough and painstaking investigation' taking place

"My thoughts, and those of my colleagues at the London Fire Brigade, are with the friends, family and loved ones of those affected at this extremely sad and difficult time."

He added: "Crews worked extremely hard in some very, very, difficult conditions and were able to prevent fire spreading to adjoining properties and causing further injuries or even further tragedy."

Chief Supt Matthew Gardner said: "Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the friends and family of the victims, who are now having to come to terms with this terrible loss of life."

A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: "We sent the air ambulance, a doctor in a car, four ambulance crews and a hazardous area response team.

"Sadly four youngsters and an adult were dead at the scene.


Silence observed

"Our staff treated a five-year-old boy in cardiac arrest but despite extensive efforts they were unable to resuscitate him."

BBC correspondent Ben Ando said from the scene that the local community had been profoundly shocked by the deaths.

London Assembly member Navin Shah said his condolences were with the family whose childen attended schools in the area.

Chief Supt Gardner said local officers were conducting "reassurance patrols" and would be working with the local authority and fire brigade, as well as local schools in the coming days.

Firefighters from Willesden, West Hampstead, North Kensington and Park Royal fire stations were at the scene of the blaze.

They were alerted at 00:50 BST and the fire was under control by 02:50 BST but the ground and first floors of the house were badly damaged.

A minute's silence for those who died was held at 17:30 BST by fire crews from across the UK who are attending a firefighters' event in east London.

Permanent link to this article
24th September 2011