Anger over firefighter pension scheme

Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

A Labour Parliamentary candidate has claimed the public could be put at risk after MPs backed plans to make firefighters work until they reach 60.

The proposals will also increase the pension contributions paid by firefighters.

The measure was passed by 313 votes to 261 despite an attempt by Labour to throw out the scheme.

Several firefighters from Sudbury visited Westminster on the day of the vote to show solidarity against the plans.

Jane Basham, Labour candidate for south Suffolk, said the scheme will put both older firefighters and the public at risk.

“This row isn’t about cuts or savings – the two main parties and the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) have agreed the limits on finance that apply,” she said.

“The Government knows there aren’t enough back-room vacancies in fire authorities to dodge dismissing firefighters by redeploying them.

“To avoid sackings and the penalties on firefighters forced to retire early, the Government is now lowering standards of fitness.”

The controversial scheme led to strikes by members of the FBU across the country, including those working in Sudbury.