Lewes MP Maria Caulfield has joined forces with Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle to tell the East Sussex Fire Authority that it can ignore the legal requirement to produce a Risk Management Plan. Liberal Democrat Councillor Carolyn Lambert says:
“This is an astonishing action on the part of two elected MPs, one of whom is a government whip. The Conservative government clearly feels that they can play fast and loose with their own rules.
All Fire and Rescue Services have a statutory duty to produce a Risk Management Plan. This is a legal requirement under the Fire Services Act 2004. In April, James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Security, wrote to all Fire and Rescue services emphasizing that work on the IRMP must continue and that a failure to do so could result in government intervention.
The recent inspection report made it clear that the Fire and Rescue Service needed to review and update its Risk Management Plan and experienced professional fire fighters have spent 18 months analysing between 5 and 9 years of data to keep both the public and our fire fighters safe. It is astonishing that these MPs are apparently prepared to put lives at risk by their cavalier attitude to safety”.
Councillor Sarah Osborne adds:
“This is a consultation. No decisions have been taken and no decisions will be taken until the outcome of the consultation has been properly analysed and considered. We will absolutely be considering alternative proposals where these are based on sound evidence”.
Councillor David Tutt comments:
“This Conservative government has consistently reduced funding for all local authorities, including the Fire and Rescue Service. The total government grant for the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has gone down over the last decade from around £15 million in 2010 to just over £3 million in 2020, a reduction of almost 80%. We certainly do need more investment particularly to deal with business safety inspections.
"Maria Caulfield claims that she has offered to speak to the Treasury to get more funding for our Fire and Rescue Service. Has she done so? And how much additional funding has she been able to get?”