London fire station closures day of action

Firefighters have held a day of action against proposals to close 12 fire stations in London which could see the loss of more than 500 jobs.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) wants to make the changes to save nearly £29m over two years.

The Fire Brigades' Union (FBU) said the cuts were "reckless" and would jeopardise public safety.

Its members handed out leaflets and collected signatures for a petition against the closures.

The FBU had asked members both on duty and off to take part.

But London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: "Attempts by the FBU to divert on-duty firefighters away from their work are irresponsible.

"London firefighters are professionals and I am sure that those on duty today will be working as usual, ready to provide a normal emergency response."

The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA), the body which governs the fire service, has recorded its opposition to the station closures.

The authority had rejected London Mayor Boris Johnson's order to hold a public consultation but after he threatened legal action, members voted to authorise it.

FBU regional secretary for London Paul Embery said: "These cuts are dangerous and wrong. No-one wants them, apart from Boris Johnson.

"Public safety is playing second fiddle to crude economic ideology, and that is inexcusable."

Last year the LFB was told it must save more than £65m in two years.

Mr Dobson said: "A public consultation on the future of London Fire Brigade started on 4 March, and will run for at least 12 weeks.

"The brigade is encouraging all Londoners to take part."

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