Leeds & West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire firefighters march against cuts

firefighters march in Leeds
Image caption Hundreds of firefighters and their supporters marched in Leeds

Hundreds of firefighters and supporters marched through the centre of Leeds in protest at proposed cuts to the fire service.

Fire Brigades Union officials and Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton addressed the meeting outside the city art gallery.

Firefighters said the planned changes to the service may "endanger lives".

Senior officers said they were hoping to adapt and revise the proposals as best they could within their resources.

The Fire Brigades Union said: "If the latest proposals are approved by the fire authority it will mean that in 12 months they have agreed to close 21 fire stations and replace them with just 10 new ones.

"There will be 19 less fire appliances to respond to emergencies and up to 350 less front line firefighters available."

Budget constraints

West Yorkshire FBU brigade secretary David Williams said: "Firefighters are angry because these cuts will double the size of some station grounds which in turn will slow response times.

"In emergency situations every second counts, a few seconds delay can be the difference between saving a life or failing to save it."

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Steve Beckley said the service had to operate within its budget.

He said: "We would hate to see industrial action obviously, that would put the public at even greater risk.

"We're in the middle of a 12-week consultation process now on our current proposals.

"We're taking on board concerns, we're looking to adapt and revise the proposals as best we can within the resources we've got."

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