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Second motion put forward in effort to halt Suffolk Fire Service cuts

Firefighters from Bury St Edmunds pictured with the appliance that may be lost due to cut backs. ANL-151125-174751009
Firefighters from Bury St Edmunds pictured with the appliance that may be lost due to cut backs. ANL-151125-174751009

A cross opposition-party motion calling on Suffolk County Council to reverse proposed cuts set to made to the county’s fire service as been lodged.

Labour Councillors, with support from the Liberal Democrats and all the other opposition parties, today put the motion to Suffolk County Council May 26th meeting, calling on the Cabinet to drop the remaining cuts to Suffolk’s Fire Service.

Suffolk County Council Cabinet – made up entirely of Conservative Councillors – will meet tomorrow, Tuesday May 17, to endorse the removal of one fire engine and their crews from each of Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich East, Ipswich Princes Street, and Lowestoft South Fire Stations.

The fire engine originally planned to go from Sudbury has now won a reprieve, as has Wrentham fire station

Because the motion this month is very similar to the one put to the Council in March, the opposition councillors had to find 20 signatures to endorse their motion – but in fact have had the endorsement of 32 councillors.

Cllr Peter Gardiner, Labour’s spokesperson for public protection, said “Although the retention of Sudbury’s second engine, and of Wrentham fire station, are both welcome, it is the cut to the number of firefighters – both on-call and especially whole-time - which really puts the County at risk.

“There is no point in keeping fire stations or fire engines if we don’t keep up the crews needed to operate them.”

Cllr Sandy Martin, leader of the Labour Group, said “It is up to the ordinary Conservative members of Suffolk County Council whether they decide to take an interest in this issue or not.

“If we call in the Cabinet decision they have the opportunity to refer it back and enable a Full Council debate on the issue.

“If they play constitutional party games with this issue, and prevent us from having a meaningful debate, the residents of Suffolk will not forgive them for it.”

The motion is proposed by Cllr Sandy Martin, seconded by Cllr David Wood (Lib Dem), and counter- signed by all the Labour and Liberal Democrat Councillors and most of the other opposition councillors.

If the Cabinet decision is successfully called in, the Scrutiny Committee will probably consider the call-in on Tuesday 24th, two days before the Full Council meeting.

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